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143 – The Radioactive Boy Scout

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Who among us didn’t have at least a touch of the mad scientist fantasy as a kid, right? Most of us, probably. And who among us failed to ever have anything come of it? Most of us, probably. Not David Hahn. David Hahn had himself a notion to build a fast breeder nuclear reactor in his mother’s potting shed. And by golly, he did. By cobbling together stolen fire alarms, camping lanterns, and parts financed by selling stolen hubcaps, along with a whole lot of good old-fashioned bullshitting, David Hahn managed to build a small, functional, fast breeder nuclear reactor before he was out of high school. Neighbors said sometimes they’d even see a flashing green glow coming from the old potting shed. Part celebration of mad genius, part tragedy and cautionary tale, the story of the so-called “radioactive boy scout” is a tale of complementarity: it can be all those things, depending on how you look at it. 

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