Richard’s Reactor – really smart and really dumb

You have to be really smart to understand nuclear physics and really dumb to try to build a nuclear reactor in your kitchen. Richard Handl is apparently both.
If the story is true, it seems that the 31 year old Swede has gained the attention of the world over the past 48 hours for attempting, in his own words, “to see if it is possible to split atoms at home, not to gain electricity but for fun”.
Since May, he has been publishing his progress on his blog Richard’s Reactor. He has been happily collecting together various radioactive substances, but had a bit of a setback when he attempted to cook them down in sulphuric acid on his stove top. In his own words, “No, it not so dangerous. But I tried to cook Americium, Radium and Beryllium in 96% sulphuric-acid, to easier get them blended. But the whole thing exploded upp in the air…” (the pic is from Richard’s blog)
He recently informed the authorities of his crackpot experiment, as it had occurred to him that he might be breaking some obscure Swedish law. To his surprise, police and radiation experts quickly descended upon his home, arrested him and meanly confiscated the items in his laborotory/kitchen.
He has since been released, and I hope will soon be admitted to the Heroic Failures Hall of Fame.
I haven’t had such a nice little chuckle for quite a while. Goodonya, Richard.

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~ by Garry on August 5, 2011.

2 Responses to “Richard’s Reactor – really smart and really dumb”

  1. Hi!

    I’m Richard Handl, who tried to build the reactor. And this was a very good article! I’m pretty smart, very intressted in nuclar physichs, radiation, neutrons, plutonium and so. But thats all… I’m not so social.

    But… I have several psychiatric diagnosis. I’m not psychotic but maybe some kine of borderline and I am very paranoid. I had several ECT-treathments (ElectroConvulsive Therapy).

  2. Hi Richard! Thanks for saying ‘hello’. It is wonderful to hear from you!
    I too am not very social, but I am not as smart as you are when it comes to nuclear physics. I hope the police don’t give you any more trouble and I hope you can now find another project that is interesting and fun.
    Maybe you could write a book about your experiences.
    Goodonya and all the best,
    Garry

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