Welcome to Nuclear Turtle!

I've been asked: "Why Nuclear Turtle"? 

The answer is simple : it reflects two of the interests in my life.

• I love turtles and have kept turtles at home for the majority of my life. In addition to all the mythology in myriads of cultures about them, they are facinating creatures on their own.  Of all the different types of turtles that I've read about and observed, I think box turtles are the best - they are sweet, intelligent each one has very different personalities (more so than other types) plus they are so cute when they withdraw into their shell and their shell closes up. 

• Now for the nuclear part of the name.  This refers to the study of one of the most fascinating fields of science - Nuclear Magnetic Resonance or NMR. Yes, I've studied and enjoy physics, but the nuclear I refer to is not what pops into ones mind when they first hear that word, often "dangerous" "radioactive" "powerplants" and so on.  Rather it refers to the nucleus of the atom -  not the vast energies potentially contained within, but rather and most specifically an extremely subtle property: the magnetic moment of the nucleus. Such a small and minisule thing leads to profound implications and applications.

 If you haven't heard of NMR, there is a sub-field in NMR which you might have some familiarity with - MRI as it is called today or Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging as it was known a few decades ago which allows doctors to "see inside you" without harmful radioactive materials and without X-rays, using only very powerful magentic fields and radio transmissions. The name changed from NMRI to MRI when doctors realized that it sometimes caused patients a great deal of anxiety when they heard they were going to be put into a "nuclear" something or other.

I don't work with MRI, but rather the part of the field which studies compounds.  With NMR it is possible to perform quality control on compounds, sometimes determine their origin, answer questions - "is it real or fake?", and mostly,  determine connectivity of the atoms within a molecule -  what compounds you have and even how much you have of it.  This is a superficial description of what it can do, but the how is the most fascinating and elegant.

If you've ever watched a top spin; or a ballerina, dancer or figure skater move; or a glass blower make a sculpture; or even an artist paint - that is the feeling that you get when you study this field

In the future I will have more information on this web site concerning these subjects and more.

From 2007:

Just in case you missed the lunar eclipse on March 3, 2007, below is a collage of images that we took by the East River. The images start after the eclipse - when the moon has turned red and is coming out of Earth's shadow.  The images were all hand held, supported by park bench (heh - forgot the tripod :-)) and shutter varies from 1/4 (yes...) to 1/300 second. ( Thank goodness for image stabilization - Canon S3 IS!  )

 Question - why is the moon red?  Hint #1 - Moon is being illuminated by sunlight passing through the Earth's atmosphere.  Hint #2 - Why is the sky blue?  If these hints don't provide the answer, see below.

First two rows of "Moons" were exposed to show the eclipsed part of the moon. 
The other images were exposed to show the fully sunlit part part of the moon.
Buildings you see in picture on the right are on Roosevelt Island. 
Pictures were taken in Manhattan, NY around 64th Street on the esplanade by the East River

Answer -  The light we see on the moon is from illumination by the Sun. When (most of the) light hits the moon directly, we see white light bouncing off.  In a lunar eclipse, the only source of light on the Moon  is light from the Sun being filtered by the Earth's atmosphere. If you think of white light split up, you think of a rainbow. Blue (high frequency) is on one side and Red (lowest visible frequency) on the other. When light passes through the Earth's atmosphere, higher frequency light (blue) is scattered in all directions. Lower frequency light (red) is scattered significantly less and passes through.  A much higher proportion of red light  gets through than blue light (this applies to the colors in between).  So the earth's atmosphere filters the sunlight and that is what makes the moon red in a lunar eclipse - as well as making the sky blue - and that is why when the sun hangs low on the horizon, it may appear red. In case you would like further explanation, visit this site.  For more information, I suggest searching using the keywords Rayleigh scattering

Nuclear Turtle
~Harriet & Elmo~
Old pic -
They now have almost the full surface of a 55 gallon (4' x 1') tank - they walk on an "egg carton" style light grid
held up by acrylic posts over the water, with a little little deck into the
water*. They happily walk back and forth between the dark side of the tank
to the light side (where they bask) and take occassional dips into the water. 
Since the turtles are so buoyant they are no threat to the goldfish and plecos living underneath,
except when the fish come too close to the turtle's flailing feet. Well even if the turtles could sink down,
they wouldn't be a threat to the fish since these turtles are so  gentle and would give the fish plently of warning
before they become curious and try to take a taste.
Box turtles are so not designed to swim but they love to do so anyway - they look so incredibly
clumsy in the water but get around quite well.

Oh yeah, don't let the names fool you - not long ago we found out that one-eyed Elmo is a girl, as she was laying eggs all over the place...

I also have a red ear slider; his buddy passed away a few years ago (after more than 35 years) and the poor grumpy guy is alone in his tank.
He has gotten bad tempered in his old age and unfortunately I don't dare put anyone in with him. When he was young he was a friendly turtle (as red ear sliders go).

*- This is a great way to maximize space for water and land occupants of a tank.  In some ways it makes things easier to clean, as the turtles leftovers and waste pretty much falls into the water where the fish, eh, clean it up (and becomes bio-available to the plants that survive the goldfish).  In some ways it makes cleaning a bit more difficult as ocassionally things get stuck in the approx 1" openings. While Acrylic rods work OK as vertical supports, horizontal has too much sag (I  only want support at the ends and 4' is admittly a long distance not to have support in the middle) and a more sturdy material is in order - maybe eventually I'll change. Still the Acrylic works)  The rods and deck are all held together by nylon cable ties.  The deck is a small piece of the "egg crate" plastic with the cable ties put on so that it dips into the water with a lot of play. The tank water is filtered using external power filter (Rena Filstar XP2 - scrubbing stage omitted - Use some left over Aqua Clean sponges in the first stage - works pretty well) with inlet tube loosely connected to on side of an undergravel filter.  The other side of the filter is bubbled with a very short tube with tube cover sealed and very small holes drilled near top (to compensate for approx 3/4 height water level - ) and a bunch of decorative bubblers.  The bubblers are run by Rena Air 400 (which while pretty quiet, I'm not too happy with; tried a variety of air pumps and I still haven't found a good quiet air pump that I'm satisfied with yet)


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