The Best Science Pranks Ever Pulled

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7 / 9

A Homemade Nuclear Reactor

Each year, University of Chicago students embark on a traditional scavenger hunt. The contest features comical, strange, and even impossible to attain items. 1999's extensive list included:

-With your teammates' powers combined, summon Captain Planet. [10 points]
-A French-Canadian. [30 points]
-Fisher-Price Baby's First Flamethrower. [122 points]
-Two cups of chocolate chips with at least a half cup of ketchup--to be consumed ensemble. [25 points]
-5 MENSA membership cards. [40 points]
-A breeder reactor built in a shed, and the boy scout badge to prove credit was given where boy scout credit was due. [500 points]

You can see where this is going. Jenna Beck from Hypercube describes what happened after the contest got underway:

"Sure enough, physics majors Justin Kasper and Fred Niell built a plutonium-producing reactor in a single day using scrap aluminum and carbon sheets. To get the radioactive element, the pair collected Thorium powder from the inside of vacuum tubes, which the reactor turned into trace amounts of weapons-grade uranium. An alarmed nuclear physicist verified the device’s authenticity, and the team came in second place."

Source: Hypercube

(Image: Wikimedia Commons)

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