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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Nuclear Cookies: a St Patrick's Day puzzle!

Here's a Saint Patricks's Day treat! Four cookies. You can't tell from the photo, but the green is actually glowing.

Okay, this is a puzzle I learned in the US Navy. It's actually a teaching tool used to explain ionizing radiation to non-occupational workers such as myself. Thanks, Space Cowgirl, for the suggestion!

Okay, here's the puzzle:

You have four cookies. Each has inside it a potentially lethal radioactive source of equivalent strength. One cookie is radiating Alpha particles, one is radiating Beta particles, one is radiating Gamma rays and one is radiating Neutrons.

You can: eat one of the cookies, you can hold one of the cookies in your hand, you can put one of the cookies in your pocket, and you can throw one of the cookies away. What do you do?

I'll post the answer in a little while, give it your best shot in the comments!


  1. I know the photograph actually has six cookies. Couldn't find a better one to illustrate the puzzle.

  2. asdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdfasdf

    C'mon guys, don't make me answer this, he knows I know the answer. a Google search on "nuclear cookie" and you'll probably find it, this isn't some great state secret of the US Navy.

  3. I'm going to leave this open until some time tomorrow morning, and then I'll post the answers if nobody has.

    I have to admit I'm surprised that nobody has tried to answer this yet, I can see that lots of people have looked at the puzzle.

    Maybe everyone's too drunk on Guinness and Oban tonight to give it a try?

  4. eat the Gamma cookie(least radiation exposure and it will penetrate everything anyway)

    hold the Alpha cookie(cannot penetrate dead skin layer,

    pocket the Beta cookie(won't penetrate cloth)

    throw the Neutron cookie away(worst exposure impact and distance is a must because it will penetrate clothes/skin)

  5. We have a winner!

    Thanks, Tennessee!

    Will post your answer presently, couldn't have worded it better.