Today In Ford History--jan. 30
On Jan. 30, 1957, a Ford research scientist unveiled a quick, inexpensive shortcut to determine the effects of radioactivity on certain materials.
Instead of a full years exposure in a nuclear reactor, Dr. Roderick Hines produced the same effect by bombarding quartz or glass with electrically-charged atoms of certain gases for 10 seconds.
At the annual meeting of the American Physical Society in New York, Dr. Hines said he could simulate the effects of the expensive nuclear reactor almost immediately in any physics lab with simple equipment and inexpensive materials.
Using positive ions of nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen or argon gases, the Ford scientist found he could duplicate the effect of exposing quartz or glass to radiation for a year. In his breakthrough discovery, Dr. Hines said the 10-second bombardment led to unique optical effects that can be measured accurately in the laboratory.
In the late 50s Dr. Hines left Ford to join the faculty at Northwestern University, where he become one of the top U.S. experts on radiation damage and other effects of ion beam bombardment.
At Ford, he was part of a research team exploring the potential of nuclear power for automotive assembly plants.