Remember science kits? From 1951-52, the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab was sold for $50:
The set came with four types of uranium ore, a beta-alpha source (Pb-210), a pure beta source (Ru-106), a gamma source (Zn-65?), a spinthariscope, a cloud chamber with its own short-lived alpha source (Po-210), an electroscope, a geiger counter, a manual, a comic book and a government manual ‘Prospecting for Uranium.'”
The comic book was titled “Dagwood Splits the Atom.”
The kit’s high price and complexity made it a failure on the market.
At Trying to Grok, Sarah finds hope for the future through science kits.
Yesterday I had to work at a demonstration of various science kits you can buy at the store. I was kinda dreading it because it was going to be a huge mess, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. Most kids just wanted to get their hands dirty and sticky. But one family made it totally worthwhile.
A mother and two sons showed up specifically for the science demonstration. I was just getting to the end of mixing “quicksand”: cornstarch and water. I filled the pan and showed the older boy (probably 9 years old) how your hand sinks in and it’s hard to pull out. The boy looked at me and said, “Well, that’s neat, but what’s the science behind it?” Awesome. So I pulled out the paperwork that came with the kit, and we had a discussion of non-Newtonian fluids and the Law of Viscosity. And then we demonstrated together how the viscosity could be changed by applying pressure. He learned some science, and heck, so did I!
My husband was into Heathkit. When his father refused to spring for a color TV, John built one himself. Even as a graduate student in electrical engineering, John patronized the Heathkit store.
My first husband designed an atomic bomb for a fifth grade science project. But he didn’t try to build it. His parents were too cheap to spring for the Gilbert U-238.