Experiments With Tin (Oct, 1944)


From the Bronze Age to World War II, this metal has been useful to man.


WHEN you next speak of tin, be sure it’s with respect. For tin is not only one of the most useful of the common base metals, but it is by far also the most expensive. At a price of 52 cents a pound, this erroneously maligned metal is more than three times as costly as aluminum, is four times as dear as copper, and is 40 times as expensive as iron. What’s more, its important contribution to everyday living and to industry makes it worth the price.

Tin is one of the most ancient and honorable of metals. Alloyed with copper to make bronze, it has been used to fashion weapons, utensils, and tools since prehistoric time. In this alloy, tin makes the copper harder and more resistant to atmosphere and gives it a lower melting point. The tin mines of Cornwall, England, now supplying tin for the Allies’ war effort, have been in almost continuous operation since the Bronze Age.

BOMBARDING the Atom for POWER and GOLD (Dec, 1932)

It’s very odd to read an article that speaks about nuclear power without mentioning the neutron. In fact the neutron was proposed by James Chadwick the year this issue was printed.


Locked up in the atoms which make up all matter are tremendous stores of energy which, if harnessed, would yield millions of horsepower at a negligible cost. Read here about amazing advances made by science in its attack upon the atom and about the feat, recently achieved, of actually changing mercury into gold.


IF SCIENCE succeeds in its current quest for a means of splitting atoms on a mass-production scale, and thus making it possible to utilize the tremendous energy bound up in the electron and proton, all the machinery which now furnishes our power may be thrown into the junk heap.

Learn About SULPHURIC ACID (Jul, 1942)

In the 1940’s practically every issue of Popular Science had a detailed chemistry article with experiments for teens to perform. I’m going to begin posting them in the new Chemistry category.

Learn About SULPHURIC ACID – No. 1 War Chemical


NEVER pour water into concentrated sulphuric acid. They will boil and spatter over the room. This is caused by the acid’s great affinity for water. The only safe way is to pour the acid into the water, stirring constantly. Likewise, concentrated sulphuric acid will draw water out of the skin, leaving a dangerous burn.

Chemcraft for Victory! (Dec, 1944)

The basic message of the letter to all the readers of the magazine is: buy a Chemcraft outfit or your big brother will be killed by Japs and Nazis. Also, it will help you find a job after the war.


Dear Jack,
It was swell to get your V-mail letter. Hope it won’t be long before I am back home with you. I’m glad to hear that you are interested in my Chemcraft Outfit. Now I realize how important chemistry is and what a vital part it plays in our war effort. And after the war chemistry will be more important than ever. So the more you and I can learn about chemistry the better our future chances of success. Our Chemcraft Outfit will help you get a good start. So stick to it. All my love to you, Mom and Dad.

Your loving brother,

Redshift Caused by Tired Light (Nov, 1932)

To think, I’d always believed that redshift was caused by the doppler effect. How silly of me. Actually the light just gets really tired! (You would too if you’d traveled for 13 billion light years without a single vacation day). And of course blueshift occurs when the light is really happy or excited, like when it wins a race against… well anything really.

According to Wikipedia redshift was first used to measure the velocity of a star moving away from the Earth in 1868 so they really don’t have an excuse for not getting the memo. My only guess is that they couldn’t accept the fact that practically everything in the Universe is moving away from us and that the farther away it is, the faster it’s going. This of course leads to crazy ideas like the big bang.

Light Gets Tired and Turns Red
THAT light rays get tired as they travel for millions of years through space, fritter away a little of themselves century by century and end by changing color so that rays which started as blue ones may finish by becoming red is suggested by scientists. Astronomers have discovered that light rays coming to the earth from the most distant nebulae actually show what is called the “red shift,” which means the light from these nebulae is shifted a little toward the red end of the spectrum. What may be happening is that each tiny bit of each light ray may lose a small fraction of its substance as it moves through space.

Sun Furnace Goes to Work (Mar, 1954)

Make posted a few articles on solar furnaces yesterday. (link, link) Here’s a companion peice from 1954 with a few that get up to 8,000 degrees F. I particularly like the solar cigarette lighter on page two.

Sun Furnace Goes to Work
A man-made inferno tries out materials for jet and rocket engines—and shows one way to capture free solar power.

By Alden P. Armagnac

ATOP a 6,000-foot mountain near San Diego, Calif., they’re harnessing the sun to help build airplanes. A solar furnace newly installed there focuses the sun’s rays, with a 10-foot-diameter mirror of polished aluminum, upon a spot smaller than a dime. It surpasses by far the temperature of the hottest blowtorch or electric furnace.

Researchers of the Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation apply the sun furnace’s terrific heat to materials under trial for jet and rocket engines and for guided missiles. Aim of their experiments is to develop substances more resistant to heat and thermal shock than any yet known—stuff that won’t soften and flow, say, when a long-range missile screams back to the earth from dizzy altitudes.

Radium – Boon or Menace? (Jun, 1932) (Jun, 1932)

Radium – Boon or Menace?


Member, American Physical Society; Member, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

RECENTLY the press reported the case of a wealthy man who died from the direct use of radium, in a way that made it necessary for the authorities to step in and investigate the so-called “radium cures”. The victim, Eben M. Byers, an iron manufacturer, died in a New York hospital from the effects of radium absorbed by drinking “radithor”, a radioactive water manufactured by the Bailey Radium Laboratories, East Orange, New Jersey.

Scientific American Tries LSD (Jun, 1955)

This article references a Dr. Funkenstein. Anybody with that name should play base for George Clinton.

Experimental Psychoses

When the drug called LSD is administered to human subjects, it produces the symptoms of psychosis. The phenomenon provides a remarkable new tool for the investigation of psychotic states by Six Staff Members of Boston Psychopathic Hospital

In the spring of 1943 a Swiss chemist, Albert Hofmann, while working with a chemical in his laboratory one day, was overcome by peculiar mental sensations. He became restless, felt disembodied, could not concentrate on his work. Fantastic images of extraordinary plasticity and kaleidoscopic coloring flitted through his mind. In a dreamlike state, he left the laboratory and went home. Correctly connecting his disturbance with the chemical he had been preparing, Hofmann conscientiously recorded every sensation. His description was the beginning of a remarkable series of discoveries.

Boys Build A Cyclotron (Nov, 1947)

Wow, this is a pretty impressive high-school project.

Boys Build A Cyclotron

This little atom smasher, designed by California high school students, works just like the big ones.

By Andrew R. Boone

THE young nuclear physicist who won the Nobel prize by developing the cyclotron, Ernest O. Lawrence, started out with a little glass device that looked like a frying pan. Since then, cyclotrons have become such mammoth, complex, and expensive machines that the patent holders are rarely bothered by requests for licenses to build them. But ingenious and industrious youngsters can still build cyclotrons.

Electrons in Overalls (Feb, 1941)

Electrons in Overalls

WHILE millions of men throughout the world have been frantically engaged in destructive warfare waged by new and secret devices, during the last few years, several hundred earnest American scientists have been just as busy training an army of their own and perfecting a weapon which may go a long way toward making a better civilization tomorrow.

The army of the scientists is an army of electrons, countless billions strong. The weapon is the electronic tube—no secret weapon, to be sure, because among the common types are the tubes in your radio.