Step back in time features news items from The Daily Star 25 and 50 years ago.

50 years ago

Jan. 4, 1962

"Where does the sun's energy come from?"

This became an explosive question recently when asked by a group of fifth graders at Chestnut Street School.

When pupils of Mrs. Eva Donahue began a penetrating study of science four weeks ago, this question was one of the most frequently asked _ and the one which led eventually to the exhaustive and advanced study and laboratory work going on in her class today.

By way of proving how far the class has gone _ and remember these are fifth graders _ the topic for a classroom demonstration Wednesday by SUCO professor Dr. William Donahue was "Radioactivity."

Dr. Donahue, husband of Mrs. Donahue gave a "Classmaster" demonstration designed to point out that radiation was emitted by a variety of metals including uranium and radium.

In addition the professor had previously shown the fifth graders how to decompose water.

Sound complicated?

It is, but these sharp fifth graders handle this material almost as easily as they do their ABCs.

By the way, the "classmaster" is a device that converts radiation picked up by a Geiger counter to audible and visual signals.

In addition Dr. Donahue's classmaster clearly showed the shielding power of lead in comparison to lighter materials.

And it showed the youngsters different penetrating powers of two types of radiation.

One type of radiation (gamma) acts like the penetration of x-rays, Mrs. Donahue pointed out.

She said gamma is part of the fallout which comes from both atom and megaton explosions.

This type of radiation can be used to our advantage, she said, or it can be very deadly, depending on how it is used.

The professor's wife said that this group, an average fifth grade class, has become so absorbed in the science study that it will be continued for another four weeks.

A typical pupil reaction is that of Guy Wallace, who said yesterday "chemistry is wonderful, I love it."

Mrs. Donahue said the children, girls as well as boys, consider the science period one of the day's highlights.

Incidentally, if you are still wondering about the question "where does the sun's energy come from?" here's the answer:

"When two heavy hydrogen atoms fuse, helium is formed. In this formation, matter is given off _ and this matter is the energy which warms the earth."

Do you understand it?

The fifth graders of Mrs. Eva Donahue did.

Trending Video

Recommended for you