If you were to Google theworld’s most dangerous toy,
this is actually what willpop up on your screen:
the Atomic Energy Lab Kit by A.C. Gilbert.
It’s because it comes withthree sources of radiation
and four uranium oresthat are also radioactive.
My name is Voula Saridakis.
I’m a curator here at theMuseum of Science and Industry in Chicago
现在 AC Gilbert和制作者宣称
Now,A.C. Gilbert claimed,and the makers claimed,
that there was nothing dangerous about it.
It really did emit very, verylow amounts of radiation.
But I probably wouldnot encourage children
to hold these samples nextto their body all day long.
It looks like a lovelylittle red paper suitcase
with snakeskin (it’s not snakeskin) on the outside of the box.
And when you open it
you see this lovely picture
of a young man who is workingthe Wilson cloud chamber.
It comes with an instruction booklet,
the comic book HowDagwood Splits the Atom,
and it comes with a book on how to prospect uranium as well.
You could use your own Geiger counter to do that,
because the kit comes with
its very own Geigercounter, with batteries,
and it also comes with these rubber balls
that are red and green with little rods
so that you can build yourown models of alpha particles.
the Wilson cloud chamber which you assemble
so that you could actually see the vapor trails of alpha particles.
The spinthariscope,just a tube with a lens,
so you look through it
and you can actually see what’s called scintillations
which is basically alpha decay.
It also comes with an electroscope.
It has a scale and indicator inside of it,
and you look through thetube and you can actually see
how much ionization radiation comes from the particular source that you’re using.
And you can use either thealpha, beta, or gamma sources,
or you can use one ofthe four uranium ores that come with the kit.
They made fewer than 5,000 of these units.
They were only made in 1950 and 1951, and they sold poorly.
They were discontinuedafter only two years.
And the reason for that is not
because of any radioactivity concerns,
but rather because it wasexpensive. It was $50,
and in 1950, $50 is the equivalent
of about $520 by today’s standards.
And that’s pretty expensive.
It’s like a black box ofscience and technology,
but then you open it like Pandora’s box
and then you play with it
and then you realize later on down the road
that there might be somehidden dangers there.