Are you a fan of the decaying atomic nucleus? Does the clicking of a Geiger make you giddy? Check out this fantastic archive of images, Radiation and the Popular Imagination, documenting America's obsession with radiation (starting in the late 1890s) and subsequent realization of its dangers.
As a child of the post-OSHA era, my own experience with radiation has been shielded by layers of nitrile gloves and plexiglass. But this collection of images clearly demonstrates that human-nuclear radiation interaction wasn't always so sterile and impersonal. Radioactive elements were used in everything from toothpaste to cocktails (see ad, lower right) to dinner plates to suppositories (?) to roulette balls. But this glowing stuff didn't just look groovy, radiation gave blind men sight and a visit to radioactive hot springs was therapy for the ill.
My mom used to wash plutonium-contaminated lab equipment to earn extra bucks while she was in college, and now I'm wondering if those dish gloves and protective shield were thick enough... Hey, maybe my bone marrow glows!
Here's an interesting article about how we plan to warn future (alien?) civilizations not to go digging around in our most illustrious nuclear waste dumps for the next 10,000 years. Anyone know how to say "radioactive death-ray" in Enceladian?
Suit up in your protective gear and take a listen to these ionizing yet non-carcinogenic tunes:
Thanks to Ken and Tollfreedom!