heavy water

Marj Tiefert marj at biosym.com
Tue Apr 18 19:44:36 EST 1995

In article <1995Apr16.074831.5536 at henson.cc.wwu.edu>, n8010095 at henson.cc.wwu.edu (Phillip Bigelow) writes:
|> augusta at rockvax.rockefeller.edu writes:

|> For someone writing a murder mystery (as the original poster was doing),
|> using D2O seems like the perfect "vehicle".  The chemical is inexpensive,
|> available, and probably would be un-detectable in the average, every-day
|> autopsy and coroner's report.  In real life, using heavy water would be a
|> problem, because the murderer couldn't control the victom's in-take of water
|> (without being detected as a suspect).  It would be pretty hard to spike a

Also, if they used a lot (I don't know how much would be enough to
kill a person, but probably more than just a trace), the victim would 
notice that the glass of water seemed about twice as heavy as it ought to.

|> can of Pepsi, particularly if the can hasn't been opened yet, and the murderer- to-be is across town at the time.  It would also take too long.  If the muderer
|> used tritium dioxide (T2O), the victom would probably set off a geiger counter

Nope - the radiation from tritium is too weak to be detected with
a geiger counter - the coroner would habitually have to mix samples
with a fluorescent cocktail and run them through a scintillation counter.

|> during an autopsy.  Although it's doubtful that a coroner would habitually
|> have a geiger counter near the autopsy table.  :-)

(it's been a long time since I've been a "real" biochemist...)

Marj Tiefert, Biosym Technologies, San Diego, California,  USA
marj at biosym.com <-- this is correct, auto-reply could be wrong

I never object to a certain degree of disputatiousness in a young man
from the age of seventeen to that of four or five and twenty, provided
I find him always arguing on one side of the question.
                                          --S. T. Coleridge, 1817

* DISCLAIMER: Unless indicated otherwise, everything in this note is       * 
* personal opinion, not an official statement of Biosym Technologies, Inc. * 

More information about the Bioforum mailing list