Imagine that a teacher boldly sets a project for 10-year-old students to make a model of an atom. Wow! – how exciting to learn about these ideas for the first time – just look back at the quotation from the The Effect of Gamma Radiation on Man in the Moon Marigolds.
But then imagine that one member of your class was exceptionally bright and the child of a specialist in PET imaging. You might have hoped a child would bring in a model of a hydrogen atom with one proton and one neutron, or even a carbon atom with six protons and six neutrons. Instead, this child brought in a model of Fluorine-18. And not just a model – a model which rotated with a slip ring to allow the LEDs representing the electrons to stay lit as the electrons rotated! A model which incorporated a description of the radioactivity of fluorine-18, which itself is anomalous in that it decays by positron emission!
I have to say, I would have some sympathy for that teacher. If it were me, I would congratulate the child, give out the marks, and maybe ask that for the next project the class model… DNA. With a molecular weight of a few million … that should keep him busy for a while…