Swedish Man Caught Trying to Split Atoms at Home

Here is another, stranger story from Yahoo News. It seems that one Richard Handl of Stockholm has a keen interest in nuclear physics. I suppose he could have gone to college, majored in physics and eventually found work in a laboratory somewhere. Or, he could skip all of that and build a nuclear reactor in his home.

Richard Handl told The Associated Press that he had the radioactive elements radium, americium and uranium in his apartment in southern Sweden when police showed up and arrested him on charges of unauthorized possession of nuclear material.

The 31-year-old Handl said he had tried for months to set up a nuclear reactor at home and kept a blog about his experiments, describing how he created a small meltdown on his stove.

Only later did he realize it might not be legal and sent a question to Sweden’s Radiation Authority, which answered by sending the police.

“I have always been interested in physics and chemistry,” Handl said, adding he just wanted to “see if it’s possible to split atoms at home.”

The police raid took place in late July, but police have refused to comment. If convicted, Handl could face fines or up to two years in prison.

Although he says police didn’t detect dangerous levels of radiation in his apartment, he now acknowledges the project wasn’t such a good idea.

“From now on, I will stick to the theory,” he said.

I wonder where he got the uranium, radium, and americium. You can’t exactly find radioactive materials at your local shopping center. Radium is highly radioactive and americium is not found in nature and is therefore very rare. The article states that Mr. Handl kept a blog describing his experiments but I can’t seem to locate it.

In any case, if Richard Hardl needs a job, after he gets out of jail, I am sure he can find work in North Korea or Iran.

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4 Responses to “Swedish Man Caught Trying to Split Atoms at Home”

  1. theRealSasha Says:

    Maybe he got the material from ebay?

  2. Lochemya David Says:

    Um… You can actually buy uranium off the Internet. Not sure about the other ones.

  3. David Hoffman Says:

    Radium used to be used on glow in the dark watch hands. It is not much used nowadays but I suppose it wouldn’t be too difficult to obtain. I have no idea how he could have gotten americium since it is really rare and expensive.

  4. Using Your Computer for Science « David's Commonplace Book Says:

    [...] to make a contribution to science but you don’t have your own laboratory or access to radioactive materials? Well, you can do important work just by using your computer. Check this out. There’s nothing [...]

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