That Special Glow

Cherenkov radiation in the Reed College nuclear reactor

I always thought that the words “licensed nuclear reactor operator” would be a neat addition to the baccalaureate in English Literature, but not surprisingly, the training program to operate the reactor at Reed College is no cakewalk. So I never even went into the reactor when I was a student, despite having taken an after-school class in third grade taught by a retired Civil Defense chief who taught us to use Geiger counters and calculate the biological effects of our long-term radiation exposure in a nuclear holocaust. But they were giving tours during last weekend’s reunion activities and I got the shot of Cherenkov radiation above with my iPhone, standing practically over the reactor.