The Home Page of Ken Buesseler's Radiochemistry Group at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


Cafe Thorium is not really a cafe although we have been known to serve espresso & latte throughout the worlds major ocean basins. In fact, we are a serious scientific research team in the Department of Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Thorium is just one of many radioactive elements we measure. We analyze marine samples for both natural and artificial radionuclides. Examples of naturally occurring radionuclides include those isotopes produced in the decay chains of the long-lived uranium and thorium isotopes (such as thorium-234, lead-210, radium-226), and cosmogenically produced radionuclides such as beryllium-7 and phosphorus-32. The artificial radionuclides we study, such as cesium-137, strontium-90 and plutonium-239,240, were released during atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the early 1960's or more recently, by the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident in 1986. By knowing their source term, geochemistry, and radioactive decay properties, we use radionuclides as in situ tracers of a wide variety of chemical, biological and physical processes. This page was designed with the both serious and not-so-serious science types in mind, so bear with us and let us know what you like, think you like, and just don't care about or understand and we'll try and make the next version more surfer friendly. Sit back with a cup of Java and browse away The people who pay for his work include: The National Science Foundation; the Office of Naval Research; the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; the Department of Energy; the US Environmental Protection Agency; the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the list goes on (you too can have YOUR NAME HERE!- click here to find out how!).

For a fun article about our work, check out:

"Welcome to the Cafe Thorium where Chemist Ken Buesseler serves up a brew of fresh espresso and solid science"

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last updated 22 April 2004

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