The reckless days?

The New Yorker, one of my favorite magazines, has published several long articles on my subject over the last three quarters of a century. Mostly I’ve found them readable, as ever, but of not much practical use to me. Such is the case with Daniel Lang’s 1959 article “A most valuable accident” (which I had trouble sourcing and is hard to read in my files). That said, it provides valuable background and I did enjoy this pertinent paragraph:

Many of the people – dial painters and others – who ingested radium back in those days are alive, however, and a little over a year ago the Atomic Energy Commission embarked on a systematic search for them, as part of its program of amassing all available information about the effect of radioactivity on human beings. One phase of the Commission’s program deals with the ingestion of radioactive substance, and here the survivors of the reckless days of radium consumption are known to make enlightening, if sometimes unfortunate, exhibits.


Lang, Daniel. 1959. “A most valuable accident.” New Yorker, May 2, pp. 49-92.


    • Actually, Andrew, so do I, and I’d forgotten that fact. I must have originally copied a dusty old copy in a university library, before I got my digital subscription. Thanks!