Imaginary Weapons

Reproduced from my response that has been graciously hosted by because the punctuation got scrambled over there and it became hard to read. Carl says:

Come on, Folks, Lighten up a bit. Fact is Sharon Weinberger may seem to be a barrel of fun, but she mixes up a lot of things for the sake of a "good story" - and sometimes she just messes up. The location of the dump for nuke waste is very important to everybody, but she locates it, Yucca Mtn., in Colorado! Good Gad, imagine how much acid has been churned in the stomachs of Colorado by her carelessness!!!

I think that the root of my problem has been that for 42 years of academic life I have absolutely refused to accept a "Security Clearance" - from anybody. I do not know any "Secrets." I do physics that is interesting to me and to my Graduate Students (36 through their PhD dissertations, so far) without permissions from anybody, JASONS, the "Brightest and the Best," or Government funding agencies. Sometimes we have funding, sometimes we don't; and then we improvise. Incidentally, the apocryphal dental X-ray, was not "taken from a dentist," but was purchased with $1,500 we had gotten from some successful tech transfer and Catalin Zoita (who is really bright, but was denigrated by Sharon Weinberger because he did not "warm-up" to her nicely) powered it with a final audio amplifier originally used for outdoor rock-concerts. The amplifier was driven with some ultra sophisticated digital concoction that was described in Zoita's dissertaton. The whole gig threw us into contact with some really interesting types of colleagues, new to us - and also like us, not members of the "Best and Brightest." Incidentally, when I advised Sharon that Dr. Zoita had lost his job as a postdoc ( and did not get another) when we lost our funding because of her, she replied "He can always get a job at Wal-Mart." Is that also funny ? possibly to some Folks, since the hurt is not among the "Brightest and the Best." She reports (as I have observed, also) those Guys at the JASON level have very thin skins.

Speaking of messing up - think for a minute; what happens if the Best and Brightest do successfully repeat our international team's early experiment with the dental X-ray machine powered by a rock-concert amp? As attributed to Wilhelmy by Sharon, they realized that if they confirmed our weird, cost-effective breakthrough with the $10's millions Argonne synchrotron, then they would be in deep you-know-what with their establishment where paychecks depend upon just how expensive research can be made. So they assumed linearity of this unexpected phenomenon and cranked up the power, by about five orders-of-magnitude. John Becker publicly admitted that the first try blew-up their radioactive sample, vaporizing it into the open laboratory air - ah the Best at work; and clearly failing to confirm our positive results.

Doina (my wife) explained the matter. She was making a cake for which the instructions were to bake for 30 min. at 350F. Her view was that with linearity, as assumed for everything at Argonne, they probably would think that they could bake it in 3 minutes at 3500F or going the full orders-of-magnitude, give it 1.8 sec at 350,000 degrees. Yes, I know that this is not perfect linearity because I did not correct for absolute zero not happening at 0F, but that complicates the illustration too much and it's about right, anyway.

The whole deal about the "choke-hold" on the Hf-178 isomer supply is a "crock." After the Best and Brightest blew up their sample was Doina supposed to give them one of hers? Fact is, any amount is for sale at her invoice price she paid appreciated by the Lipper average for any other growth investment over the same period of time. Want to buy some?

Maybe, fun it is, but why did Sharon Weinberger put the tragic death of our beloved Son in a public transportation accident in the index of her book?



Every experiment that tried but did not succeed in duplicating the original "quixotic," (but awfully innovative) first experiment with the Hf-178m2 isomer was trying to bake the cake in 1.8 seconds - so to speak.