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The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor

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The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Growing up in suburban Detroit, David Hahn was fascinated by science, and his basement experiments—building homemade fireworks, brewing moonshine, and concocting his own self-tanning lotion—were more ambitious than those of other boys. While working on his Atomic Energy badge for the Boy Scouts, David’s obsessive attention turned to nuclear energy. Throwing caution to the wind, he plunged into a new project: building a nuclear breeder reactor in his backyard garden shed.

In The Radioactive Boy Scout, veteran journalist Ken Silverstein recreates in brilliant detail the months of David’s improbable nuclear quest. Posing as a physics professor, David solicited information on reactor design from the U.S. government and from industry experts. (Ironically, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission was his number one source of information.) Scavenging antiques stores and junkyards for old-fashioned smoke detectors and gas lanterns—both of which contain small amounts of radioactive material—and following blueprints he found in an outdated physics textbook, David cobbled together a crude device that threw off toxic levels of radiation. His unsanctioned and wholly unsupervised project finally sparked an environmental catastrophe that put his town’s forty thousand residents at risk and caused the EPA to shut down his lab and bury it at a radioactive dumpsite in Utah.

An outrageous account of ambition and, ultimately, hubris that sits comfortably on the shelf next to such offbeat science books as Driving Mr. Albert and stories of grand capers like Catch Me If You Can, The Radioactive Boy Scout is a real-life adventure with the narrative energy of a first-rate thriller.

From the Hardcover edition.

Synopsis:

Traces a young boy's obsessive fascination with science and nuclear physics, which eventually compelled him to misrepresent himself to the government and build a breeder reactor in his back yard, causing an environmental catastrophe in his quiet Detroit neighborhood. 15,000 first printing.

About the Author

KEN SILVERSTEIN is an investigative reporter for the Washington, D.C., bureau of the Los Angeles Times. A former contributing editor to Harper’s Magazine, in which a portion of this story first appeared, he has written for Mother Jones, The Nation, and The American Prospect, among others. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781588363565
Subtitle:
The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor
Publisher:
Random House
Author:
Silverstein, Ken
Author:
Ken Silverstein
Subject:
Nuclear Physics
Subject:
Scientists - General
Subject:
Biography & Autobiography-Scientists - General
Subject:
Science-Nuclear Physics
Subject:
Biography & Autobiography : Scientists - General
Subject:
Science : Nuclear Physics
Subject:
Science : General
Subject:
Problem youth
Subject:
United states
Subject:
Engineering - Nuclear
Subject:
General
Subject:
Nuclear energy
Subject:
Gifted boys
Subject:
Breeder reactors.
Subject:
Science Reference-General
Subject:
main_subject
Subject:
all_subjects
Publication Date:
20040301
Binding:
ELECTRONIC
Language:
English
Pages:
209

Related Subjects

Biography » General
Biography » Science and Technology
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General
Science and Mathematics » Energy » Nuclear Engineering
Sports and Outdoors » Outdoors » General

The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor
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Product details 209 pages Random House - English 9781588363565 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Traces a young boy's obsessive fascination with science and nuclear physics, which eventually compelled him to misrepresent himself to the government and build a breeder reactor in his back yard, causing an environmental catastrophe in his quiet Detroit neighborhood. 15,000 first printing.
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