50, 100 & 150 Years Ago: June 2022

50, 100 & 150 Years Ago: June 2022 thumbnail

Innovation and discovery as chronicled by Scientific American

1972: The map shows the “range of submarine-launched ballistic missiles that could hit strategically important targets in the U.S.S.R., assumed to include population centers and industrial complexes, within 200 miles of the border (gray areas). The contours are concentric with each other. The solid (blue) contour shows the range of the Polaris A-3 and Poseidon C-3 missiles (2,500 nautical miles). The ranges of older missiles are shown by the two inner broken contours. The two outer broken contours show the estimated ranges of the Navy’s proposed undersea long-range missiles (4,500 and 6,000 nautical miles). The black dots indicate the home ports and forward bases for the U.S. missile submarine fleet. Credit: Scientific American, Vol. 226, No. 6; June 1972

1972

Neutrino Trap

” It is believed that the sun’s radiant heat comes from thermonuclear reactions deep within the interior. One product should be a flood neutrinos: uncharged, massless particles that interact with so few other particles that solid bodies like the earth are almost transparent to them. Raymond Davis, Jr., from Brookhaven National Laboratory, has developed a detector to test this theory. It is buried a mile under solid rock in the Homestake Gold Mine in Lead, S.D., a huge tank containing 100,000 gallons of the dry-cleaning solvent tetrachloroethylene, 85 percent chlorine. When a neutrino is absorbed by an atom of chlorine, an atom of the radioactive isotope argon 37 is formed. At intervals of about 100 days the tank is swept with helium gas to remove the argon 37. The theory predicts that neutrinos will be produced at such an incredible rate that Davis’s detector should capture 2 neutrinos per day. The capture rate has been less than 0.02 neutrinos per day for the past two years, according to the results. Although there are many explanations for the discrepancy, none of them is satisfactory. This problem will be the subject of intense research in the near future .”

1922

Guatemala in Two Acres

” The republic of Guatemala has created what appears to be the most extraordinary relief map anywhere in the world to help visiting capitalists make decisions about their investments. This map covers two acres and includes every contour, every town, and every stream or lake in Guatemala, as well as British Honduras. The huge topographical map is made of concrete and assembled in sections. The molds were made and checked up for quality control over two years. The ultimate cost was $100,000, and another like sum was spent in gathering the data on which the map is based. The big map is located at the hippodrome (or racetrack) in Guatemala City. It has been through two earthquakes without any damage

The map is still in existence, but as a tourist attraction.

We Ought to Be in Pictures

Scientific American has entered the motion picture field, as producers of Scientific American films, in collaboration with the Coronet Films Corporation of Providence, R.I. These films will be shown in theaters across the country once per month. The subjects will be taken from our columns, and then transferred to the screen. In order to report and comment on scientific news, we have also established a special radio-phone broadcasting talk. We are using the WJZ station of the Radio Corporation-Westinghouse organizations, located at Newark, N.J., covering a range of several hundred miles. We will soon make arrangements to cover more of the entire country .”

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1872

Solar System Causes Cholera

“B.

“B. He stated, “Cholera epidemics have, according to me, a period that is equal to a period and half of sun spots.” The date 1816. 66 was shortly before the great Indian outbreak; another period and a half gives 1833. 33, a year in which there was a maximum of cholera; another, 1849. 99, that is, 1850, a year having a maximum of cholera; another, 1866. 66, a year having a maximum of cholera; in 1883. 33 there will be a maximum. I’m not ready to say that sun spots are the cause of cholera. They may both be caused by other causes. My opinion is that the planets in perihelion, more specifically at the time of the equinoxes, produce a violent action on the sun [producing], resulting in a maximum number of sun spots and cholera on the Earth .'”

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Sanitary Lead Pipes

” Many people in Sacramento, Calif. have been poisoned from the use of the so-called’sanitary composite water pipe’. The Board of Health has banned its use. On chemical analysis, the water flowing through this pipe contained lead and arsenic. The pipe in question is believed to be composed of a species of brass.”

This article was originally published with the title “50, 100 & 150 Years Ago” in Scientific American 326, 6, 60 (June 2022)

doi: 10. 1038/scientificamerican0622-60

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

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    Mark Fischetti is a senior editor at Scientif

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