Episode 20: Dollop: David Hahn

Dave: Maybe we start wearing goggles.

Gareth: Maybe we start masturbating.

The Radioactive Boy Scout: The Frightening True Story of a Whiz Kid and His Homemade Nuclear Reactor * Ken Silverstein

This has actually happened again, but with parental supervision–and therefore a happy ending.

Imagine–talent plus adult involvement and safety equals yay!

In The Boy Who Played with Fusion: Extreme Science, Extreme Parenting, and How to Make a Star, science journalist Tom Clynes narrates Taylor Wilson’s extraordinary journey—from his Arkansas home where his parents fully supported his intellectual passions, to a unique Reno, Nevada, public high school just for academic superstars, to the present, when now nineteen-year-old Wilson is winning international science competitions with devices designed to prevent terrorists from shipping radioactive material into the country. Along the way, Clynes reveals how our education system shortchanges gifted students, and what we can do to fix it.

So, glowing garden shed, or fighting terrorists? Which sounds better?

The little book that almost caused a big boom:
The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments: How to Set up a Home Laboratory–Over 200 Simple Experiments * Robert Brent

Didn’t they know about weed?


Uncle Tungsten: Memories of a Chemical Boyhood * Oliver Sacks

The Elements: A Visual Exploration of Every Known Atom in the Universe * Theodore Gray

The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements * Sam Kean

Since we own all of the above books, this is definitely a Larry episode. Larry is the enthusiastic son of a chemistry professor.

Final note: the Radium Girls, Orange, New Jersey, 1917

Bands from this episode:

  • Breaking Badder
  • Atomic Hahn
  • Gardenshed
  • Atomic Boy Scout
  • Dirty Milkshake
  • Thrift Store Tragedy
  • Leadponcho

Cultural references from this episode:

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