Sunday, 7 April 2013

Things that Glow in the Dark

Tonic water and glass in normal light
So, about a year ago I heard about Uranium Glass (also known as radiation glass, or vaseline glass), which is made with small quantities of uranium, causing it to glow under black light, and I wondered, vaguely, whether the drinking glasses which used to be my Grannie's, might be made of Uranium Glass, but I didn't have any source of ultraviolet light to test it with.

Uranium glass in UV light
And then more recently I learned that the quinine in (proper, non-diet) tonic water also glows in the dark, under black light. I learned this in the context of realising that one can make G'n'T jellies, and who wouldn't love a glow-in-the-dark alcoholic jelly? (Well, my family, it turns out. I made some G'n'T jellies at christmas and it turns out that the flaw in the plan is that if you don't much like jelly, adding gin is just a waste of gin. Maybe if I'd had an ultraviolet light so it glowed in the dark we'd have liked it better)

In these circumstances, it was only a matter of time before I acquired a UV light and started to play..

Today was the day it arrived. And it's a weekend, so I was always going to be having some  gin, so I'd have an excuse to play with tonic water...

It turns out that my glasses are uranium glass...

And tonic water does glow in the dark.

And you know what? Drinking a G'n'T out of the glass, you can get some very pretty effects!

Radioactive Gin and Tonic
Well, it kept me amused for a time!

I understand that the level of radioactivity involved in Uranium glass is so low it doesn't present any health risk (unless you grind up the glass and inhale it)

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