Watch out for those Geigers!
- In his book titled "No Place to Hide" (1948), physician David Bradley describes his experiences as a
radiological monitor (a "Geiger man") for the Operation Crossroads atomic bomb tests at Bikini.
He gives a several of examples of people unfamiliar with radiation physics thinking that the
dangerous effects of nuclear radiation resulted from invisible particles called "Geigers".
Apparently this misunderstanding arose from the fact that radiation was measured with Geiger
counters, leading (not unreasonably) to the assumption the instrument "counts Geigers", just as a
voltmeter "meters Volts".
In one instance, a Navy officer told the crew of a radiation survey plane that their picture would
be taken "so that they could remember what they looked like before the Geigers hit them". (p. 47)
And after seeing a green stain on the water below, the commander of a survey plane asked the author
"Bradley. Do your damned Geigers change the color of the water too?" (p. 94)
Bradley himself eventually went along with this usage, explaining to sailors the risks of radiation
exposure: "If this ship had been hit by an atom bomb during a battle - or if this were some big city
back home - we would all have to get in there and do what we could with the situation and take our
chances on being killed now or later with Geigers, the same as with fire and smoke and shells". (p.