A “delightfully astute” and “entertaining” history of the mishaps and meltdowns that have marked the path of scientific progress (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
Radiation: What could go wrong? In short, plenty. From Marie Curie carrying around a vial of radium salt because she liked the pretty blue glow to the large-scale disasters at Chernobyl and Fukushima, dating back to the late nineteenth century, nuclear science has had a rich history of innovative exploration and discovery, coupled with mistakes, accidents, and downright disasters.
In this lively book, long-time advocate of continued nuclear research and nuclear energy James Mahaffey looks at each incident in turn and analyzes what happened and why, often discovering where scientists went wrong when analyzing past meltdowns. Every incident, while taking its toll, has led to new understanding of the mighty atom—and the fascinating frontier of science that still holds both incredible risk and great promise.
Praise for Atomic Awakening
“Mahaffey writes with delightfully witty prose. A surprisingly entertaining history of nuclear power.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Atomic Awakening provides the most complete history of nuclear power, nuclear weapons, and nuclear energy development I have ever read in a single book.” —Nuclear Street
“The book aids in the understanding of how atomic science is far from the spawn of a wicked weapons program and how nuclear power will shape the twenty-first century.” —Nuclear News
James Mahaffey was senior research scientist at Georgia Tech Institute and has worked at the Defense Nuclear Agency, the National Ground Intelligence Center, and the Air Force Air Logistics Center, focusing on nuclear power, nanotechnology, and cold fusion. He is the author of Atomic Awakening and lives in Atlanta, Georgia.