Sportspeople who achieve are allowed to show emotion. Politicians are expected to emote. But engineers and scientists, even when they do remarkable things, shed no tears. “Butch” Lichtenberger, an Argonne physicist who was instrumental within teams building a number of first-of-a-kind reactors, always struck me from my reading as stolid; for example, he liked to hunt. In 1954 he wrote an everyperson’s article about 1951’s EBR-I, the first breeder, the first reactor to turn a turbine.
I was struck by the second sentence of this paragraph. He sure sounds choked up to me.
The E.B.R. is the first for which an attempt of measurement of breeding ratio in this detail has been made. It has proved to be an extraordinarily difficult task. The basic scheme of the measurement is to fuel the reactor and operate it at a power of 1400 kw. for some time. Then part of the fuel charge and part of the blanket are removed and allowed to cool off to reduce the intensity of the radiation emitted. Since U235 exists in both the core and in the blanket, an analysis must also be made for the plutonium formed. For practical reasons only part of the reactor is removed and analyzed, and, since both the consumption and production will vary throughout the reactor, great care must be taken that the samples properly represent the total performance.Lichtenberger, Harold V. 1954. “The Experimental Breeder Reactor.” Chemical Engineering Progress Symposium Series, 50, pp. 139-146.