Thursday, August 4, 2011

So Smart He's Dumb

A Swedish man has been arrested after trying to split atoms in his kitchen. He claimed that he was only doing it as a hobby to see if it was possible, but when he verified with Sweden's Radiation Authority, they responded by sending police. The greatest line to come out of this story is the following:

"Although he says police didn't detect dangerous levels of radiation in his apartment, he now acknowledges the project wasn't such a good idea."

Wasn't such a good idea? Considering that he may have caused a mini Hiroshima in his own kitchen? While it's highly acknowledged that hindsight is 50/50 and that there are those ideas that seem better to us at the time than in the future, you have to wonder how someone smart enough to figure out atom splitting in his spare time would be dumb enough to endanger himself in his own home.

It makes me think of other brilliant minds who have evaporated due to their staggering brilliance within their field and their complete lack of common sense in reality. Or the two philosophy students who argue the probability of traversing time and space, only to get lost on the way to the cafeteria.

It's funny how human beings can simultaneously be so smart and so dumb at the same time. While this home scientist may have had the best of intentions, and may have been motivated by sheer curiosity, he didn't take into account the issue of his personal safety, the safety of those living nearby, the legality of his actions or the fact that his online blog about atom splitting may have been deemed potentially dangerous.

I'm sure that this man has read the papers at some point in his life and realizes that the world is somewhat concerned about this thing called terrorism? And that home terrorist may be interested in learning about atom splitting for a very different reason?

Hopefully, he will have smarter legal counsel on his side if he comes to trial. One who will tell him that science experiments should be left to scientists in labs.

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