If you visit David Hahn in his home in Michigan, you are likely to find documents about time travel, speed of light and anti-gravity papers casually lying on top of the dust covering his coffee table. As David himself says, he likes to put all his plans on paper for quite some time now.
When you hear him speak, he sounds like an academic who retired with honors. But he is not exactly one, not even close. And he is far from retiring, which may cause worries in some folks.
David got famous overnight about twenty years ago and since then is known for the public as “The Radioactive Boy Scout”. He is both a genius and a misfit, and at just 17 years of age, he was able to build a nuclear reactor in the shed at his mother’s back yard. Now he admits that there were probably were some issues regarding the safety of the experiment, but he still believes that spending 60,000 dollars of government money to clean up was a bit exaggerated, to say the least. He insists that it never was more than a nuclear reactor model and the shed had never actually glowed in the dark as described by others.
The desire to own a merit badge of the Boy Scouts was the reason why David decided to build a reactor in his mum’s potting shed. The radiation reportedly became strong enough to make the whole shed glow.
David’s innocent intentions were the reason an entire 40,000 people neighborhood was shut down on 26th June 1996. In November 1995 the process had been initiated when David got arrested after some reports that some kids were stealing tires in Michigan’s Clinton Township. Then, upon checking up his car, some radioactive materials had been found in a toolbox. He admitted that he had a laboratory in his back yard shed, therefore the state’s experts on radiology went on to check what was going on. And they did find something – more than a thousand times the radiation levels, which are normal for a common background. They immediately sealed the place and gave a call to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).
Next comes that faithful June morning, EPA agents, dressed in their astronaut-like gear, disassembled the whole shed, sealing all the material inside and shipping it to Utah, where it was buried deep.
If you ask David, even today he just doesn’t see the point of such radical actions, as he only intended to create a scale model, not recreate Chernobyl.
Now he’s 37 years old and the lack of concerns from the youth days is gone, and his skin had faded in time, too. But despite all the scientific talk and research, the old David is not that far away from the present one.
Most people would probably quit all experimenting for good after such turn of events, but David is not like most people and he continues to try and cross any known barrier. His latest ambition is to invent a light bulb that is capable of glowing for a hundred years, and he claims that it is very possible.
Kenneth, David’s father, was the one that signed him up with the Boy Scouts two years prior the backyard nuclear events. His dad thought this will teach him discipline and he may find a purpose in life.
Soon it became apparent that David wanted more than just the knowledge of some survival skills like rubbing sticks to start a fire or to fix the tire of a bicycle. As he states himself, he felt the urge to invent, to take a step further than the others.
Needless to say, he was the first scout in the town’s history to ever get a merit badge in a field you probably guessed, Atomic Energy.
He dreamed of possessing every last element from the periodic table. It is just that David did not fit in the norm for everyone else, and he still doesn’t.
He has a hard time finding friends, because people with his level of expertise and his interests are pretty hard to find. He spends a lot of time in correspondence with a nuclear store owner, who is a former Area 51 employee, as well as with a nuclear engineer, located in Albuquerque.
He enjoys writing letter so much that some days they reach the number of forty.
He played in soccer and baseball teams when he attended Chippewa Valley High School, and even keeps some trophies won in soccer, which can be seen on a little table in his Michigan home.
Despite the success he has, David has always considered that sports just wasted his time. The thing that he was always keen on was science and since those early days his attention has only grown bigger. He started with astronomy because of his love for the planets. He is still convinced that someday mankind will eventually set foot on Mars or one of Jupiter’s moons.