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Who Tasted Plutonium? Twitter User’s Query on its ‘Candy-like’ Taste Unveils Intriguing Facts

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Representative Image (Photo Credits: Shutterstock)

When someone recently posted a screenshot of an old Google search result after querying, “what does plutonium taste like,” it sparked curiosity and wonder.

The periodic table is a familiar subject that many of us have learned about in school. While some find the topic fascinating, others may find it dull. Nevertheless, when we encounter situations involving chemicals, we may find ourselves contemplating the properties and characteristics of the elements. This curiosity may be shared by chemical enthusiasts and scientists alike. For instance, when someone recently posted a screenshot of an old Google search result after querying, “what does plutonium taste like,” it sparked curiosity and wonder. After all, plutonium is exceedingly hazardous when inhaled, so who in the world would dare to conduct a plutonium taste test?

In the comments section of a Twitter post, an individual, Daniel Feldman, shed light on an incident involving Donald Mastick, an American chemist, who accidentally swallowed a small amount of plutonium during an experiment gone awry in 1944. The vial containing the plutonium chloride dissolved in an acid solution exploded in the laboratory, prompting Mastick to recover the plutonium he had ingested. According to Feldman and Wikipedia, Mastick had his stomach pumped and his breath tested for radioactivity for the rest of his life. He was also forbidden from working in a laboratory again. Despite these setbacks, Mastick lived until the age of 87 and even obtained a Ph.D. in physics.

He further revealed that Mastick started a successful interior landscape company and had a family, all while carrying a few micrograms of plutonium in his body. Remarkably, the inhalation of plutonium did not cause his death, contrary to expectations.

This led to a conversation where users shared their shock and disbelief about the unknown fact. Some users pointed out that the taste of plutonium is often described as metallic, contrary to the “candy-like” taste suggested by the screenshot in the post. Others took a more lighthearted approach, with one user jokingly stating, “If doctors ever tell me I only have a few weeks to live, my final gift to the human race is going to be tasting notes for every radioactive isotope I can get my hands on”. “So life expectancy after eating plutonium is 87? Deal”, quipped the other.

However, not everyone was convinced that Mastick was the only person to have ever tasted plutonium. One commenter argued, “This is obviously not true. Plutonium is fairly common. We had it at university. Am sure thousands of people have tasted plutonium.”

Interestingly, the photo that sparked the online discussion actually had nothing to do with the chemical element plutonium. Instead, it referred to an energy powder company that sells a flavour called “Plutonium”. This unrelated topic inadvertently debunked some of the intriguing facts that were being discussed about the taste of the original Plutonium element.

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