Help me remember the story of the hapless physics student.
December 9, 2008 2:58 PM   Subscribe

I remember reading a true story online about an accidental death in a physics laboratory during the early studies of radioactivity and nuclear physics experiments. I think it involved a clumsy physics student who accidentally dropped a brick of radioactive material onto a stack of these bricks which set off some sort of chain reaction. Can someone find this story online for me?
posted by Paul KC to Science & Nature (8 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Harry Daghlian, Jr.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 3:08 PM on December 9, 2008

This famously happened twice to the Demon Core. First to Harry Daghlian and later to Canadian Louis Slotin.
posted by Mitheral at 3:09 PM on December 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

Thanks that's exactly what I was looking for. Mefites come through again!
posted by Paul KC at 3:47 PM on December 9, 2008

The accident is described in more detail (with pictures) on pages 74 and 75 of a handbook of criticality accidents

posted by pseudonick at 5:02 PM on December 9, 2008

Then there's the guy who stuck his head into the business end of a particle accelerator. Still alive, apparently.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:03 PM on December 9, 2008

In case you want some more reading material.
posted by lalas at 5:07 PM on December 9, 2008

Depicted by none other than heart-breaker John Cusack in the movie Fat Man and Little Boy.
posted by jabberjaw at 5:13 PM on December 9, 2008

There's actually a mention of this in this week's New Yorker, along with a story about a guy who publishes the best technical manual for the first atomic bombs.
posted by vilcxjo_BLANKA at 8:42 AM on December 10, 2008

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