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|Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats
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Author: Kristen Iversen
Brand: Brand: Broadway Books
Full Body Burden is Kristen Iversen's story of growing up in a small Colorado town close to Rocky Flats, a secret nuclear weapons plant. It's also a book about the destructive power of secrets—both family secrets and government secrets. Her father's hidden liquor bottles, the strange cancers in children in the neighborhood, the truth about what they made at Rocky Flats—best not to inquire too deeply into any of it. But as Iversen grew older, she began to ask questions and discovered some disturbing realities.
As this memoir unfolds, it reveals itself as a brilliant work of investigative journalism—a shocking account of the government's sustained attempt to conceal the effects of the toxic and radioactive waste released by Rocky Flats, and of local residents' vain attempts to seek justice in court. Based on extensive interviews, FBI and EPA documents, and class-action testimony, this taut, beautifully written book promises to have a very long half-life.
Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader’s guide and bonus content
A Q&A with the Author
Why did you write the book?
Rocky Flats was the big secret of my childhood. No one knew what they did at the plant; the rumor in the neighborhood was that they made household cleaning products. We knew nothing about radioactive and toxic contamination. My childhood was also shadowed by the secrecy surrounding my father’s alcoholism. My family was very close and loving but also troubled. I wrote the book to learn what really happened at Rocky Flats, to learn everything I could about plutonium pits and nuclear weapons and the crucial role the plant played during and after the Cold War. I also wanted to understand my family and the broader context of what it meant to grow up during the seventies. Secrecy at the level of the community and at the level of family turned out to be a central theme in the book.
One of the great ironies of my life is that I spent several years as a travel writer in Europe, looking for good stories to write about, and the biggest story turned out to be—quite literally—in my own backyard. My family and our neighbors were “Cold War warriors,” as the plutonium workers themselves were called, but no one told us.
How is Rocky Flats a global issue?
The 2011 accident at Fukushima, following the tsunami, reminded the world in a terrible way that we cannot ignore the threat of radioactive contamination, whether it comes from nuclear power plants or nuclear weapons sites. The world has experienced many nuclear disasters in recent years, including accidents at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine, the Mayak facility in Russia (the “sister” plant to Rocky Flats), Rocky Flats in Colorado, and other former nuclear weapons sites around the United States such as Hanford and Fernald. The health effects of short-term, high-level radioactive contamination are fairly well known. What are the health costs of long-term, low-level radioactive exposure? Scientists and physicists continue to debate the topic, but one fact is for sure: there is no safe level of exposure to plutonium. One millionth of a gram, particularly if it is inhaled, can cause cancer.
Rocky Flats happened in my backyard, but in a sense it is happening in everyone’s back yard. Many of us live in close proximity to former nuclear weapons sites or nuclear power plants with inadequate safety provisions. And, at a time when we are supposed to be decreasing our nuclear arsenal, the U.S. government is talking about producing nuclear triggers again. We need to pay attention.
Was it hard to write so intimately about your family?
I believe that the most powerful way to tell a story is through personal, everyday experience. Every person on the planet has a story that is both ordinary and extraordinary. My siblings and I swam in the lake behind our house and rode our horses in the fields. We had, in many ways, a blessed childhood. And this kind of experience is one that many readers will share. What makes our story unique is that it connects, in ways that we never anticipated, to a broader historical and political narrative. The story of the 1969 fire at Rocky Flats—which very nearly destroyed the entire metro Denver area—is all the more powerful when you realize that my family was having a very pleasant Mother’s Day brunch at a nearby restaurant. We had no idea what was going on—and neither did other Coloradoans. It was only by including the experiences of me, my family, my neighbors, and my coworkers at Rocky Flats that I could truly bring the story to life. It was indeed a challenge to write intimately about things that, as a family, we were never supposed to discuss, including my father’s drinking. And yet the end result was a tremendous sense of clarity and understanding.
What surprised you most during your research for the book?
I was surprised, and continue to be surprised, by the secrecy surrounding this very dramatic story. What happened at Rocky Flats, during the Cold War and up to the present moment, is crucially important not only to Colorado but to the entire country. But so much of the story has been hidden over the years, and now it is in danger of being forgotten. Recently I stayed at a hotel just a few miles from the Rocky Flats site, and the young man at the front desk had grown up in Colorado. He’d never heard of Rocky Flats. Of those people who do know the story--or part of it--many believe that Rocky Flats is old history, that it’s irrelevant and insignificant. They believe the land is safe and the story is over. After all, you can’t see or smell plutonium.
Yet we cannot forget the story of Rocky Flats. The effects will linger far into the future. There were many other surprises too. During my research, I was shocked to discover how many tons of MUF, or “Missing Unaccounted For” plutonium, was missing, even to the present day. And the history of the 1989 FBI raid on Rocky Flats is fascinating. I believe it’s the only time in the history of the United States that two government agencies--the FBI and the EPA--have raided another agency, the Department of Energy.
- Used Book in Good Condition
|Life's Ratchet: How Molecular Machines Extract Order from Chaos
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Author: Peter M. Hoffmann
Life is an enduring mystery. Yet, science tells us that living beings are merely sophisticated structures of lifeless molecules. If this view is correct, where do the seemingly purposeful motions of cells and organisms originate? In Life’s Ratchet, physicist Peter M. Hoffmann locates the answer to this age-old question at the nanoscale.
Below the calm, ordered exterior of a living organism lies microscopic chaos, or what Hoffmann calls the molecular stormspecialized molecules immersed in a whirlwind of colliding water molecules. Our cells are filled with molecular machines, which, like tiny ratchets, transform random motion into ordered activity, and create the purpose” that is the hallmark of life. Tiny electrical motors turn electrical voltage into motion, nanoscale factories custom-build other molecular machines, and mechanical machines twist, untwist, separate and package strands of DNA. The cell is like a cityan unfathomable, complex collection of molecular workers working together to create something greater than themselves.
Life, Hoffman argues, emerges from the random motions of atoms filtered through these sophisticated structures of our evolved machinery. We are agglomerations of interacting nanoscale machines more amazing than anything in science fiction. Rather than relying on some mysterious life force” to drive themas people believed for centurieslife’s ratchets harness instead the second law of thermodynamics and the disorder of the molecular storm.
Grounded in Hoffmann’s own cutting-edge research, Life’s Ratchet reveals the incredible findings of modern nanotechnology to tell the story of how the noisy world of atoms gives rise to life itself.
|Environmental Monitoring with Arduino: Building Simple Devices to Collect Data About the World Around Us
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Author: Emily Gertz
Brand: O'REILLY MEDIA,INC.
After the devastating tsunami in 2011, Dyiers in Japan built their own devices to detect radiation levels, then posted their finding on the Internet. Right now, thousands of people worldwide are tracking environmental conditions with monitoring devices they’ve built themselves. You can do it too! This inspiring guide shows you how to use Arduino to create gadgets for measuring noise, weather, electromagnetic interference (Emi), water purity, and more. You’ll also learn how to collect and share your own data, and you can experiment by creating your own variations of the gadgets covered in the book. If you’re new to Diy electronics, the first chapter offers a primer on electronic circuits and Arduino programming.
- Use a special microphone and amplifier to build a reliable noise monitor
- Create a gadget to detect energy vampires: devices that use electricity when they’re “off”
- Examine water purity with a water conductivity device
- Measure weather basics such as temperature, humidity, and dew point
- Build your own Geiger counter to gauge background radiation
- Extend Arduino with an Ethernet shield—and put your data on the Internet
- Share your weather and radiation data online through Pachube
- Actuator Orientation :
- Actuator Type :
- Number of Turns :
- Resistive Element Material :
- Variable Resistor Type :
|The God Particle: If the Universe Is the Answer, What Is the Question?
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Author: Leon Lederman
A fascinating tour of particle physics from Nobel Prize winner Leon Lederman.
At the root of particle physics is an invincible sense of curiosity. Leon Lederman embraces this spirit of inquiry as he moves from the Greeks' earliest scientific observations to Einstein and beyond to chart this unique arm of scientific study. His survey concludes with the Higgs boson, nicknamed the God Particle, which scientists hypothesize will help unlock the last secrets of the subatomic universe, quarks and all—it's the dogged pursuit of this almost mystical entity that inspires Lederman's witty and accessible history.
|Higgs: The invention and discovery of the 'God Particle'
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Author: Jim Baggott
Brand: Brand: Oxford University Press, USA
The hunt for the Higgs particle has involved the biggest, most expensive experiment ever. So exactly what is this particle? Why does it matter so much? What does it tell us about the Universe? Did the discovery announced on 4 July 2012 finish the search? And was finding it really worth all the effort?
The short answer is yes. The Higgs field is proposed as the way in which particles gain mass - a fundamental property of matter. It's the strongest indicator yet that the Standard Model of physics really does reflect the basic building blocks of our Universe. Little wonder the hunt and discovery of this new particle produced such intense media interest.
Here, Jim Baggott explains the science behind the discovery, looking at how the concept of a Higgs field was invented, how the vast experiment was carried out, and its implications on our understanding of all mass in the Universe.
- Used Book in Good Condition
|The Quantum Theory of Fields, Volume 1: Foundations
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Author: Steven Weinberg
In The Quantum Theory of Fields, Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg combines his exceptional physical insight with his gift for clear exposition to provide a self-contained, comprehensive, and up-to-date introduction to quantum field theory. This is a two-volume work. Volume I introduces the foundations of quantum field theory. The development is fresh and logical throughout, with each step carefully motivated by what has gone before, and emphasizing the reasons why such a theory should describe nature. After a brief historical outline, the book begins anew with the principles about which we are most certain, relativity and quantum mechanics, and the properties of particles that follow from these principles. Quantum field theory emerges from this as a natural consequence. The author presents the classic calculations of quantum electrodynamics in a thoroughly modern way, showing the use of path integrals and dimensional regularization. His account of renormalization theory reflects the changes in our view of quantum field theory since the advent of effective field theories. The book's scope extends beyond quantum electrodynamics to elementary particle physics, and nuclear physics. It contains much original material, and is peppered with examples and insights drawn from the author's experience as a leader of elementary particle research. Problems are included at the end of each chapter. This work will be an invaluable reference for all physicists and mathematicians who use quantum field theory, and it is also appropriate as a textbook for graduate students in this area.
|Higgs Discovery: The Power of Empty Space
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Author: Lisa Randall
On July 4, 2012, physicists at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva madehistory when they discovered an entirely new type of subatomic particle that many scientists believe is the Higgs boson. For forty years, physicists searched for this capstone to the Standard Model of particle physics—the theory that describes both the most elementary components that are known in matter and the forces through which they interact. This particle points to the Higgs field, which provides the key to understanding why elementary particles have mass. In Higgs Discovery, Lisa Randall explains the science behind this monumental discovery, its exhilarating implications, and the power of empty space.
|The Radioactive Boy Scout: The Frightening True Story of a Whiz Kid and His Homemade Nuclear Reactor
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Author: Ken Silverstein
Growing up in suburban Detroit, David Hahn was fascinated by science. While he was working on his Atomic Energy badge for the Boy Scouts, David’s obsessive attention turned to nuclear energy. Throwing caution to the wind, he plunged into a new project: building a model nuclear reactor in his backyard garden shed.
Posing as a physics professor, David solicited information on reactor design from the U.S. government and from industry experts. Following blueprints he found in an outdated physics textbook, David cobbled together a crude device that threw off toxic levels of radiation. His wholly unsupervised project finally sparked an environmental emergency that put his town’s forty thousand suburbanites at risk. The EPA ended up burying his lab at a radioactive dumpsite in Utah. This offbeat account of ambition and, ultimately, hubris has the narrative energy of a first-rate thriller.
|Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction
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Author: Frank Close
In Particle Physics: A Very Short Introduction, best-selling author Frank Close provides a compelling and lively introduction to the fundamental particles that make up the universe. The book begins with a guide to what matter is made up of and how it evolved, and goes on to describe the fascinating and cutting-edge techniques used to study it. The author discusses particles such as quarks, electrons, and the neutrino, and exotic matter and antimatter. He also investigates the forces of nature, accelerators and detectors, and the intriguing future of particle physics. This book is essential reading for general readers interested in popular science, students of physics, and scientists at all levels.
About the Series: Combining authority with wit, accessibility, and style, Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life's most interesting topics. Written by experts for the newcomer, they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics, from philosophy to Freud, quantum theory to Islam.
|Radiation Detection and Measurement
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Author: Glenn F. Knoll
This is the resource that engineers turn to in the study of radiation detection. The fourth edition takes into account the technical developments that continue to enhance the instruments and techniques available for the detection and spectroscopy of ionizing radiation. New coverage is presented on ROC curves, micropattern gas detectors, new sensors for scintillation light, and the excess noise factor. Revised discussions are also included on TLDs and cryogenic spectrometers, radiation backgrounds, and the VME standard. Engineers will gain a strong understanding of the field with this updated book.
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