Experiments You Can Do at Home - But Probably Shouldn't

Chapter 6
Natural Wonders » Atom and Eves

Atom and Eves

Watch radioactive material decay before your eyes. In 1903 there was nothing to watch on TV because there was no TV, and meeting girls was no easier than it is today. But one device solved both problems . . . sort of.

The Crookes spinthariscope, invented that year, is a small tube with a lens at one end and a zinc sulfide screen at the other. Just above the screen is a tiny speck of radium mounted on a needle. If you look into one, you'll witness a seething, swirling light show of individual atoms going out in a blaze of glory (more entertaining than most things on TV today, I'd say).

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