"Radioactivity and the Parts of an Atom" is one of fifty-three short education films originally produced in 1955 for KQED San Francisco as part of the series Tempest in a Test Tube. This series of half-hour episodes illustrates basic chemistry concepts for high school students through live experiments and demonstrations by presenter Dr. Harry Sello. The experiments used in the show were designed by the American Chemical Society’s California chapter and reflect the safety standards of the time. This episode, “Radioactivity and the Parts of an Atom,” teaches viewers the parts of an atom; how radioactivity was discovered; various ways to detect it using Geiger counters, electroscopes, cloud chambers, and photographic film; how nuclear fission and nuclear reactors work; and the shared properties of all radioactive materials. The episodes held by the Science History Institute are VHS tapes that include both the original episode (likely originally recorded on 16mm film and later transferred to VHS cassette tape) and a later introduction by Dr. Sello describing the production of the show. The date that these VHS tapes were produced is unknown.
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