Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hallucinating Pluto Neptune

I had this weird dream this morning about them using neptunium to make frying pans; I think on the dream-sensible notion that, as a radioactive element, such a frying pan could cook without needing to be put on a stove.

I also remember trying to convince myself — in the dream — that this was a nonsensical notion. I decided that the half-life of neptunium was something in the range of about 1800 seconds or so — something approximating 20 minutes (yeah, I actually did math in a dream!) — so in a couple of hours, the frying pan would no longer be made of neptunium anyway (not to mention that anything in its vicinity would be dead of radiation poisoning).

Turns out I'm wrong about the half-life anyway... its stable isotopes seem to have half-lives ranging from about 13 months to just over two million years. Ah, well. There goes my Nobel Prize, I guess.

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