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50 & 100 years ago

Nature volume 456, page 585 (04 December 2008) | Download Citation

50 years ago

During the latter half of October 1957, following the Windscale reactor accident, we observed that the gamma-ray activity of certain members of the staff ... was higher than expected ... The source of the greater part of this increased activity was identified as iodine-131 ... We decided, therefore, to make some measurements of the iodine-131 in human thyroids ... Eighteen persons were measured, the majority of whom were resident either in, or on the fringe of, the Greater London area ... Since the main route of entry to the human thyroid was via milk, then as the cloud with its iodine-131 from Windscale passed over Britain on October 11, we may expect that the first day on which the milk contained this isotope was October 12 ... If we assume the same pattern of uptake throughout the group, then it is evident that the average person received about 0.04 rad. The magnitude of the radiation dose to adult human thyroids in the people measured was therefore comparable with that expected each year from natural background radiation.

From Nature 6 December 1958.

100 years ago

A Bill for putting in force the decisions of the Berlin Wireless Telegraphy Conference of November, 1906, as embodied in an international convention, has been laid before the French Chamber ... The conference has fixed wave-lengths, one of 300 metres, the other of 600 metres, for the transmission of public messages by the wireless current ... All stations must be able to produce one, at all events, of these two wave-lengths ... Stations on board ship must use the 300-metre wave-length. They are permitted, however, to use other wave-lengths as well, provided that these are under 600 metres. Ships of small tonnage will be allowed to use a wave-length below 300 metres.

From Nature 3 December 1908.

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