Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Anthrax Close-up, Part 1

PostedDecember 7, 2008

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Randy Atkins: The anthrax attack samples did contain silicon and oxygen, the elements of silica…which can make spores more readily float – and be inhaled – says Joe Michael, a Sandia National Labs materials scientist.  But, Michael says, those elements weren’t found in the most likely place for a biological weapon.

Joe Michael: The silicon and oxygen were not located on the outside surface of the spores.  They were on an internal structure.

Randy Atkins: Michael and colleagues used a powerful electron microscope to probe the specific location of chemical elements in thin samples of spores from the attack envelopes and…

Joe Michael: We have tested material from the flask that the FBI says the anthrax materials came from, the mailings came from.  We found that there was no silicon signature in these spores.

Randy Atkins:  Possible explanations, in Part 2.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins,
103 point 5 F-M, and WTOP-dot-com.