The alchemist's dream

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For centuries men have dreamed of turning common elements such as lead and zinc into more precious metals such as gold and silver. Today, nuclear scientists are looking beyond this and are inventing new elements which are more valuable than gold. This program, “The Alchemist’s Dream,” looks into these new elements –like curium and berkelium –which were unheard of a few years ago. Using an instrument called a cyclotron –an atom smasher –scientists at the United States Atomic Energy Commission’s Argonne National Laboratory are making new elements which do not exist in nature. In a manner of speaking, scientists at Argonne are working in an “atomic shooting gallery.” Houses in a special room behind seven –foot thick concrete doors, a cyclotron bombards target atoms of curium with a beam of a special variety of hydrogen nuclei, resulting in the making of a new elements, berkelium, one of eleven elements which have been “invented” by science. Behind heavy concrete walls, painstaking precautions are taken in the manufacture of these new elements because of harmful radiation, a byproduct of atom splitting. Though these experiments yield only small amounts of the new elements, they enable scientists to work out their chemical properties. This research provides new information on how atoms are put together. It also tells the scientists what to expect when larger quantities of the new elements are available. Already, some of these man-made elements are furnishing the power for satellites and remote weather stations. A small quantity of one of the new man-made elements, californium, scientists predict, could produce enough energy to do the job of a nuclear reactor weighing several tons.
Norman Ross; David McElroy; Clifford Braun; John Suchy; Theodore Krohne; Paul R. Fields; C. Harry Youngquist; Donald C. Stewart; Arnold M. Friedman; Richard Puryear; Ross-McElroy Productions; Argonne National Laboratory
National Educational Television; Indiana University Audio-Visual Center
Chemical industry.
National Educational Television
IUL Moving Image Archive
Rights Statement
No Copyright - United States
Physical Description
2 Films (0:00:00); 16mm
Other Identifiers
IULMIA Film Database: 40000003219450; Other: GR00456788; MDPI Barcode: 40000003218940

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This item is accessible by: the public.