By Anupum Pant
Ted Taylor was a celebrated theoretical physicist and a great nuclear bomb designer. It’s not very well known, but he was also the first person ever to light a cigarette using a nuclear bomb. How is that even possible you might think. But geniuses like Ted are quick to figure their own ways…
On June 1st 1952, a 15 kiloton nuclear bomb was to be tested in a northern Nevada town, Elko. At 3:50 in the evening, all the troops and researchers were tightly snuggled in trenches, waiting for the fission bomb to go off. Ted however had a plan to do his own little test.
He had a cigarette, and a parabolic concave mirror that he found a few days back and decided to bring along in the trench. Using a tiny wire, he suspended the cigarette and aimed the parabolic mirror towards the intense bright light that would come out of the fission reaction when the bomb would go off. It was all arranged in such a way that the bright spot would concentrate on the tip of that cigarette.
The bomb went off, sent a 37,000 feet tall mushroom cloud and a 41 mph wind in all directions. The intense heat from the fissile material, as calculated by Ted the last day, got focussed on the tip of that cigarette and lit it within a second or two.
Ted was now known as the man who lit a cigarette using a nuclear bomb. That little personal project of his brought him great reputation and he went on to do other great projects.
The cigarette, as soon as it was lit, got stubbed by Ted, and was preserved to be displayed on his table. It indeed was a pioneering work – a nuclear bomb powered cigarette lighter. However, while working on some other project, not paying much attention to what was going around, he smoked the reminder of his great feat.
via [Under the Cloud]