January 21, 2004

*Ask Jen: Bling and BoomBoom Edition

Reader Jeff writes, "All the pictures of the Iowa capital got me wondering how thick is gold leaf?"

Typically a single gold leaf is 0.0000035 inch thick, but this varies by manufacturer. Gold leaf is pure gold and therefore quite pliable for use in architecture.

The Iowa capitol dome gold is 23 karats (pure gold is 24 karats), weighs a total of 100 ounces, is 1/250,000th of an inch thick, and originally cost $3,500 to gild in the 1880s. When it was regilded in 1999, it cost $400,000. If you've never been in the capitol building and have a chance, you should go. It's actually pretty cool. (Online tour here.)

My Anonymous Reader Who Likes Bombs writes, "Where can I find urnaium?"

Urnaium? Never heard of it. But if it is natural uranium you're looking for, it's all over the place. The best deposits are in Canada and Zaire; but the U.S., Australia, France, South Africa, and the former Soviet Union all have substantial uranium sources. In the U.S. your best bet is to look in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, North Carolina, or Utah. Of course, if you're looking for uranium-235, it only occurs in one of forty uranium molecules. Good luck!

Do you have a question for me? You can e-mail it. If I know the answer, I'll answer it. If I don't, I might make something up.

Posted by Jennifer at January 21, 2004 11:19 AM