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The Internet's Latest Question: What Does Plutonium Taste Like?

People are dying to know what plutonium tastes like. Luckily, someone has already tried it.

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

James is a published author with four pop-history and science books to his name. He specializes in history, strange science, and anything out of the ordinary.

Senior Staff Writer

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Small round drops of plutonium.

Ah, the forbidden M&M.

Image credit: U.S. Department of Energy (public domain).

Whether it's the oldest water on Earth, lava, or the sludgy remains of an ancient corpse found inside a giant black sarcophagus, the public only has one question on their mind: what does it taste like?

That question, it turns out, stretches to deadly radioactive metals. People on the Internet have apparently been wondering what plutonium tastes like lately, leading to some perplexing Google search results. According to the screenshot, the answer is that it has notes of sour and sweet, presumably drowning out the umami of "I'm going to die soon".

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So, the question people are apparently dying to know, does plutonium really taste like candy? No. The Google answer appears to have picked up a review from a website for the pear-flavored candy product Plutonium Pear Nuclear Energy Powder.

Unsurprisingly, plutonium is often described as having a metallic taste, rather than pear flavor. How do we know this? One man, an American chemist by the name of Donald F. Mastick, really did taste it. 

While working on the Manhattan Project, a vial of plutonium chloride dissolved in acid exploded, with a small amount going into Mastick's mouth. He tasted a mix of the acid and a metallic taste. It wasn't what you'd typically describe as "a great situation". 

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When Mastick opened his mouth, radiation monitors went nuts, and his urine contained traces of plutonium for years after the incident. At the time they dealt with it by pumping his stomach several times. As plutonium is precious, it was recovered from his stomach contents to be reused in future experiments.


ARTICLE POSTED IN

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  • tag
  • physics,

  • taste,

  • radioactive,

  • plutonium,

  • weird and wonderful

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