• Atomic Adventures

  • Secret Islands, Forgotten N-Rays, and Isotopic Murder - A Journey into the Wild World of Nuclear Science
  • By: James Mahaffey
  • Narrated by: Keith Sellon-Wright
  • Length: 13 hrs and 29 mins
  • Unabridged
  • Release date: 06-06-17
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • 4.5 (192 ratings)

Regular price: $24.47

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Publisher's Summary

Whether you are a scientist or a poet, pro-nuclear energy or staunch opponent, conspiracy theorist or pragmatist, James Mahaffey's books have served to open up the world of nuclear science like never before. With clear explanations of some of the most complex scientific endeavors in history, Mahaffey's new book looks back at the atom's wild, secretive past and then toward its potentially bright future.
Mahaffey unearths lost reactors on far-flung Pacific islands and trees that were exposed to active fission that changed gender or bloomed in the dead of winter. He explains why we have nuclear submarines but not nuclear aircraft and why cold fusion doesn't exist. And who knew that radiation counting was once a fashionable trend?
Though parts of the nuclear history might seem like a fiction mash-up where cowboys somehow got a hold of a reactor, Mahaffey's vivid prose holds the listener in thrall of the infectious energy of scientific curiosity and ingenuity that may one day hold the key to solving our energy crisis or sending us to Mars.
©2017 James Mahaffey (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By David Foster on 08-14-17

Terrific at Times but Flawed at Others

If you could sum up Atomic Adventures in three words, what would they be?

Entertaining, Informative, Flawed

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The progression through the book was great.

Have you listened to any of Keith Sellon-Wright’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I haven't knowingly heard him before this book. The performance on this book was excellent however.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Some sections I REALLY enjoyed... this was exactly the kind of book that I search far and wide for but there were some serious flaws within it.

Any additional comments?

This is exactly the kind of book that I search far and wide for. It started out great and I especially enjoyed the section on cold fusion. I remember those days well as I was wrapping up my third year in a four year undergrad degree in chemistry and my phys chem prof was also trying to verify the claims. It was terrific to hear the explanations to the results the author had (which I won't spoil by providing here... ). The narration was excellent and I found it very 'listenable'. Definitely one of the better readings I've heard in 10+ years of being an audible customer.The one area this book fell down in, however, was the explanations of specific impulse for rocket engines. The errors were blatent and took away from an otherwise enjoyable review of NERVA and nuclear rocketry. For the record. Isp has a dimension of seconds because the 'pounds' quantity in the numerator and denominator cancel out. (Isp = lbs of thrust / lbs of propellants per second if i recall correctly). Isp's do not tell you how long the rocket can fire for, rather it tells you how much thrust is produced for a given mass of propellants! Just because an engine has an Isp of 330s, doesn't mean it can only run for 330s but it means that engine will produce 330 pounds of thrust for every pound of the given propellants. This is pretty basic rocketry stuff and it's a shame neither the author nor the editor caught it as it takes away from the rest of the chapter and casts doubts on some of the other sections. Other issues with the rockets? The Russian R7 did not have 25 V2 engines as claimed, but rather 5 engines, each of which had 4 thrust chambers and while some of the technology can be traced back to the V2, they most certainly weren't V2 engines any more than an F1 was. All that aside, I would recommend this book. It is enjoyable and aside from a few technical slip-ups, the author does a great job of reviewing some pretty flakey unscientific claims.

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110 of 114 people found this review helpful


By Mike Fisher on 08-18-17

A very interesting history of Atomic development.

Mahaffey gives insight to the Atomic history that was not covered in other books that I have studied. I you like history and the development of the atom this book is for you.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Audrius Z. on 10-29-17

Interesting information

It’s like a bag full of interesting facts, with a bit a loose structure attached to each of the stories. I enjoyed it and would recommend it for those who already know a lot about this topic.

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By Murray on 09-23-17

Laconic telling of hidden nuclear history

Lots of good stories ranging from the true origin of Roswell UFO stories though atomic rocket motors to the cold fusion debacle. Along the way I also learned to stop worrying about dirty bombs.

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