[time-nuts] Disciplining Rubidium

Tom Van Baak tvb at LeapSecond.com
Thu Apr 24 02:31:54 EDT 2008

> Hi Tom,
> by the way, are Cesium and Rb isotopes used in these
> clocks radioactive to any degree? I remember on your
> website you mentioned that Cesiums have to be shipped
> as hazardous material..
> bye,
> Said

Nope. It's an unfortunate myth that "atomic clocks" have
anything to do with radioactivity.

They are hazmat because all those elements on the left
edge of the periodic table react violently with water.

This 25-second clip shows the reaction nicely:

"Rubidium and Cesium in water"

The longer piece below is funny (but the explosion was
reportedly faked):

"Brainiac Alkali Metals"


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