April 20, 2011

The friendly Atom

Wonderful bit of Atomic history from Pruned:
Atomic Gardens
Paige Johnson works as a nanotechnology researcher at the University of Tulsa, Oklahoma. When not inventing new ways to fabricate nanobatteries and other advanced materials, she moonlights as an independent scholar of garden history. She has published articles on the ´┐Żoutlandish´┐Ż garden hydroengineering of Isaac de Caus and the technological motifs of Art Deco landscapes, among other topics. Additionally, she maintains two landscape-themed blogs, Garden History Girl and Playscapes, both of which have given us some great material to blog here in the past.

Her current landscape research is focused on the strange and fascinating story of atomic gardening, a post-war phenomenon in which plants were irradiated in the hopes of producing beneficial mutations. Considering recent nuclear events in Japan and the ever ongoing concern for food security, it's a topic that's sure to resonate.

As a cap (albeit a delayed one) to our Atomic Week earlier this month, we asked Johnson to share some of her research.
What follows is a wonderful interview about a time in history that people have forgotten. I grew up then and remember the rush to find ways to use atomic energy for peace -- there were even proposals to use nuclear bombs to dig canals (nevermind the fallout). What is fascinating is that two of the 'mutations' bred true and are in common food use today... Posted by DaveH at April 20, 2011 11:23 AM