U.S. Alchemists Make Gold (Mar, 1948)

U.S. Alchemists Make Gold

Applying atomic magic to aid medicine and research, radiochemists duplicate nature’s elements and create new ones.

By Alden P. Armagnac

AT Oak Ridge, Tenn., the United States Atomic Energy Commission has gone into the business of manufacturing synthetic gold. The atomic pile is the Philosopher’s Stone, long sought by the ancient alchemists, which has the 24-carat touch.

Most curious part of the new enterprise is the odd behavior of the man-made gold. Though locked in the strongest vault, most of it would disappear within a week’s time.

Strange to say, this extraordinary way of acting actually enhances the gold’s value. What makes it so desirable is the fact that it is radioactive. Hence the ray-emitting “radio-gold” offers medical men a priceless tool for treating such maladies as leukemia, lymphoma and Hodgkin’s disease. At one institution alone, Vanderbilt University Medical School in Nashville, Tenn., it has benefited 61 patients in the first year of use.

How Evaporation Steals Heat (Mar, 1948)

How Evaporation Steals Heat

EVERY time a liquid evaporates into a gas, it snatches a definite amount of heat from its container and surrounding air, cooling both below their original temperatures. This law of physical chemistry has long been useful to the human race as a means of cooling foods or drinks. Primitive man found that water placed in unglazed earthenware vessels would seep through the pores, evaporate, and cool the water remaining inside. Campers and country dwellers still cool water in this way.

Today, all our mechanical refrigerators, electric and gas alike, harness the cooling effect of evaporation. Alternately compressed into a liquid and allowed to expand into a gas, the refrigerant absorbs heat during each evaporation cycle.

X-Ray Solves Secret of Life (Jun, 1939)

It’s funny how sometimes people have all the information they need but they don’t put it together. This article talks about X-Raying people’s heads to immunize them against getting a cold, then about how X-Rays increase the rate of mutation by 150 times in experiments. In hindsight it seems obvious to ask if irradiating your head with a mutating beam of energy is a good idea. Though I guess that’s better than using X-Rays to shave.

X-Ray Solves Secret of Life

Thanks to the discovery of X-ray, secrets of man and metal lay revealed to the world today. Continued study with this tool of science is destined to uncover further mysteries of life and plunge man into fabulous adventures that may change civilization.

IF YOU break an arm today, chances are the broken member will be thoroughly X-rayed before and after the fracture is set. But don’t walk out of the hospital X-ray room believing the only use of the X-ray is for examination of broken bones.

The X-ray is more than the tool of the surgeon. It is a force in the change of civilization. So great a force is it in changing of sex, the reduction of infection, radio and telephone, and a score of other fields that scientists are beginning to wonder if it is not the single greatest force shaping our development toward the Utopia towards which all scientific achievement points.


Millikan is most famous for being the first person to determine the charge of a single electron. Apparently his work on cosmic rays was less important or correct. He believed that cosmic rays were high energy photons as opposed to charged particles. He was wrong. This quote from his Wikipedia entry caught my eye though:

Millikan thought the cosmic ray photons were the “birth cries” of new atoms continually being created by God to counteract entropy and prevent the heat death of the universe.

Study of cosmic rays, mysterious radiations from space, more penetrating than X-rays, has been brought out of the laboratory and placed on a more homely basis by recent tests. Putting in his own basement the bomb-like detector shown in the photograph above, Dr. Robert A. Millikan, California physicist (right) found the rays streamed through the roof and walls of his house without appreciable hindrance. Meanwhile University of Chicago experimenters accidentally discovered that the human head absorbs five percent of the cosmic rays that strike it while the rest pass through.

Science Remakes the Dog (Nov, 1936)

Science Remakes the Dog

How Breeders Are Changing The Appearance and Nature Of Our Canine Population To Bring Out the Qualities That Are Made Desirable By Modern Living Conditions

By Jesse F. Gelders

DOGS are getting smaller. Subject to style trends, the same as clothing, automobiles, and houses, they are adapting themselves— or, rather, being adapted—to the changed conditions of modern life.

People today are demanding dogs that can live in small homes or apartments, and ride in automobiles, without crowding out their human companions; dogs that can keep fit with a minimum of exercise; smart, good-natured dogs, and—an important consideration, sometimes—dogs that will not eat their masters out of house and home.

Polarized Light Experiments (Oct, 1934)

USING A MICROSCOPE FOR Polarized Light Experiments

By H. J. Sexton and O. M. Freeman

WITH apparatus costing less than two dollars to make, the amateur microscopist can now produce and observe polarized light. This opens up a field hitherto limited by the prohibitive cost of the required accessories. It enables the amateur to witness the most beautiful phenomena and conduct the most delicate investigations of which the microscope is capable.

Nowhere in nature are to be found more astonishing and magnificent displays of variegated color effects or more exact delineations than those produced by polarized light in its passage through a simple slide made from a strip of mica, or a thin section of horn or quill. No degree of magnification, however high, will so clearly resolve the limits and boundaries of a specimen composed of layers normally transparent to ordinary light.


Here is an amazing, huge National Geographic article/pictorial about the state of nuclear science and technology in 1958. Be sure to check out this crazy picture of mice being taped down on a model train that’s about to be driven through a particle accelerator.


Abundant energy released from the hearts of atoms promises a vastly different and better tomorrow for all mankind

Senior Editorial Staff, National Geographic Magazine

THOUGH man may reach for the moon and the planets, he has found the richest of all new worlds behind the familiar face of his everyday environment. Here, deep in the mysterious cosmos of inner space, lies that world within a world, the powerful, obedient atom.

So small are nature’s basic building blocks that you could put 36 billion billion atoms on the head of a pin. Yet these unimaginably tiny particles work like genii at man’s bidding. Their peaceful energy is gradually shaping our world into a far better place.

Home Science Stunts with Soap (Feb, 1938)

Home Science Stunts with Soap

by Prof. Victor Lewitus

Make a strong soap solution by mixing shaving soap and water. After taking a puff on a cigarette, blow the smoke through a bubble pipe to make a soap bubble. The inside of the bubble then will contain the white smoke, and when it breaks, it does so with a puff, furnishing a very striking experiment. A clay or corncob pipe will be more suitable than the briar variety, inasmuch as the soap mixture probably will make the pipe unsuited for further smoking.

Three Magic Metals (Jun, 1936)

Three Magic Metals

Producing Cold With Electricity and A “Quicksilver Heart” That Beats Are Only Two of the Amazing Tests You Can Perform Easily With Simple Substances

By Raymond B. Wailes

YOU are accustomed to seeing an electric element in a toaster or radiant heater grow red-hot when current passes through it—but did you know that when electricity flows through joints of certain metals, it produces a cooling effect? Have you ever made a drop of murcury behave as if it were alive or prepared a pair of magical alloys that are solids when separate, and a liquid when mixed?

These are a few of the fascinating experiments that you can perform with metals, using three in particular that you may not have employed before in your home laboratory—mercury, antimony, and bismuth.

Girl Chemist (Jan, 1949)

Girl Chemist

Jackie Bates works harder, has lonelier life than most of her ex-classmates, but makes more money, likes her profession

Chemistry, once strictly a man’s profession, has become increasingly hospitable to women. The expansion of industrial chemistry has helped. Women are particularly in demand for delicate laboratory work that requires small hands, finger dexterity and painstaking attention to detail. With job opportunities opening in the field, more college girls than ever before have been preparing for careers in chemistry.