Quantum and Nuclear

The mouse and the expensive nuclear cocktail

Stories from Physics for 11-14 14-16 16-19 IOP RESOURCES

The first pure sample of heavy water (D2O  −  water containing only deuterium, an isotope of hydrogen and oxygen) was produced in 1933 by Gilbert Lewis, an American chemist, using electrolysis. To determine if it was harmful to living things, Lewis fed his entire supply of heavy water, a total of 1 cm 3, to a mouse. Though the mouse survived, it was reported to have shown “marked signs of intoxication”. Lewis’ American colleague Ernest Lawrence, who was waiting to use the heavy water in his cyclotron, commented: “This was the most expensive cocktail that I think mouse or man ever had.”

The mouse and the expensive nuclear cocktail

References

Limit Less Campaign

Support our manifesto for change

The IOP wants to support young people to fulfil their potential by doing physics. Please sign the manifesto today so that we can show our politicians there is widespread support for improving equity and inclusion across the education sector.

Sign today