Monday, March 30, 2009

Atomic Science Set

"The Ultimate Science Kit"
Retro Thing (March 24, 2009)

"From Oak Ridge Associated Universities: 'This was the most elaborate Atomic Energy educational set ever produced, but it was only only available from 1951 to 1952. Its relatively high price for the time ($50.00) and its sophistication were the explanation Gilbert gave for the set's short lifespan...."

There's a photo of the set. These days, the vice president who came up with an idea like this might be back in the mail room before the hazmat team was through with his/her office. American society today is much more 'safety conscious,' or 'risk-averse,' depending on how you see things, than we were in the early fifties.

It's a wonderful look at another age, when people didn't 'know' that killer bees make nuclear reactors blow up. I'm not making that up: "The Swarm," 1978, was touted as a warning of the perils of nuclear power. In the movie, a swarm of killer bees made a reactor explode. In a matter of seconds. I saw the movie not too long after its release. The TV Tropes wiki is quite accurate.

I'm just glad that it's still possible for collectors to buy and sell things like The Ultimate Science Kit.

Maybe, someday, the powers that be in America will be willing to allow a bit less cotton batting around our lives.

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