The Atomarium planned for the Hall of Science in 1967 would be the largest of its kind in the country. It was to feature a working nuclear reactor and an operating gamma-ray irradiator. The internal works of the devices would be visible to public audiences watching from an amphitheater above.  They would peer down into the 250-kilowatt reactor and see the irradiator’s series of 18-inch long rods–which had 30,000 curies of cobalt-60 contained within–immersed in water. When the reactor went “critical,” visitors would see the blue Cerenkov glow of the nuclear cores.

atomarium sketch1

Read more about the history of the New York Hall of Science in the NYSCI Archives.