Uranium and plutonium have gotten famous, or infamous, because they are used in atom bombs. We could have been saying that about another material—one that few actually know. Learn about the material that didn’t quite make it into The Bomb.
During the 1920s and 1930s, people put radium on their skin and in their cocktails. They put uranium in health tonics. And they drank water from The Revigorator, which was a pot lined with uranium. In 2009, scientists tested a Revigorator, to see what it actually did.
Here's a really neat, classic experiment that's always fun to see. When you place uranium inside a cloud chamber, you can see it decay and emit bits of radiation. It's like seeing little alpha particle torpedoes shooting out in every direction, leaving a trail behind.
Artist Phillip Stearns' A Chandelier For One of Many Possible Endings is a custom light fixture containing 92 elements, each connected to a Geiger counter and each representing an electron in a Uranium atom. They light up in response to radiation, creating a haunting pattern.
According to Reuters, Iraq rebels have stolen 88 pounds of uranium compounds that were being used for scientific research at a university in the city of Mosul.
We love artwork made with innovative materials — but sometimes, it can go too far. This Victorian-era glassware, made with uranium to make it glow, is definitely in that category.
At io9, we love extremophiles, the litte creatures which can survive and thrive in the most insane conditions our planet has to offer. A new study has shown that even when two extremophiles are very closely related, they can handle toxic conditions in very different ways.
Buried in the deserts of the world are fossils of trees and animals that died millions of years ago. Those fossils are often made of packed sediment. Occasionally, that sediment is uranium.
In 1942, the US government acquired the town of Oak Ridge in eastern Tennessee. From then on, Oak Ridge was just like any other town — except for the fences, the guards, and the top-secret uranium separating facility.
Glossy magazines often contain a substance that has elevated levels of uranium and thorium. This means that reading one for various lengths of time slightly heightens your level of radiation exposure. Find out how much magazines like Playboy are poisoning your body, even if they're not corrupting your mind and…
The bacteria known as Geobacter sulfurreducens, when exposed to uranium, pretty much just die. But under certain conditions, they can grow appendages that can literally make uranium drop out of water like a stone. Scientists have found a way to get them to grow the right way, and may even be able to recreate them…
Richard Handl, was arrested by the Swedish police for the possession of nuclear material including radium, americium, and uranium. The inquisitive man was creating a nuclear reactor to see if it's possible to split atoms at home." Crazy, but true.
Earth runs on massive amounts of heat, enough to melt iron in the core and create our magnetic field, enough to power the constant movement of plate tectonics. Where all this heat comes from is a mystery...but we're getting closer.
Uranium that's been depleted isn't necessarily waste, according to researchers at Nottingham University. They think—besides making ammo and tank armor—it could be used as the basis for future hard drives thousands of times larger than current ones.
The Stuxnet worm may have a new target. The now-infamous malware was possibly built to sabotage Iran's nuclear program, while North Korea has unveiled a new uranium enrichment plant that might share components with Iran's facilities. Are Pyongyang's centrifuges vulnerable?
Two billion years ago, planet Earth had natural nuclear fission reactors, burning inside its crust. You are looking at the remains of one of them, located in Oklo, Gabon.
The scariest thing is that building your own nuke doesn't seem as hard as it should be. Dangerous and expensive? Yes. Impossible? Not so much. Kim Jong Il, please don't read this.