The story so far:
In the late nineteenth century, a scientist went to Russia, to ask the Russian government for assistance in his scientific experiments. His name was Daal-Baarsin. He was from Bulgaria, but he was introduced as a 'Turkish' scientist. The Tsar was the mighty king of Russia, and as the Tsar sat on his throne, he listened as Daal-Baarsin was introduced.
A messenger who worked for the Tsar came in and said, "Your majesty, I introduce the Turkish scientist Daal-Baarsin!" Mr. Daal-Baarsin came in and bowed in front of the Tsar. The Tsar said, "Hello! I welcome you to Russia!" Daal-Baarsin said, "I am pleased to be here, your majesty. I was a bit surprized that your messenger announced me as a 'Turkish' scientist. I am actually Bulgarian! You see, the Turkish army invaded Bulgaria several years ago, and they never left! The Turkish empire claimed Bulgaria as their own land! We Bulgarians had a difficult time fighting them because Bulgaria is a small country, and Turkey has an army much larger than the Bulgarian army! Since we Bulgarians are outnumbered by Turks, we were unable to drive the Turks out of our country, and so, sadly, the Turks have absorbed Bulgaria! Bulgaria is now part of the Turkish Empire, or as they call it, the 'Ottoman Empire.' Everywhere I go, people introduce me as a Turkish scientist, but I should be introduced as a Bulgarian scientist!"
The Tsar said, "Of course, I should have known! I read about you, and the report I read said that you were from the 'Turkish province of Bulgaria'. Tell me, what is the situation in Bulgaria?" Daal-Baarsin said, "Officially, Bulgaria is part of Turkish territory. We have Turkish laws, we occasionally see Turkish troops marching through the cities and towns, we even have to pay taxes to the Turkish government!" The Tsar shouted, "Incredible!" Then he asked, "So what brings you here, Mr. Daal-Baarsin?"
Daal-Baarsin said, "I want to know if you would be interested in helping me finance some experiments. I have been experimenting with a mineral called pitchblende. It is also called 'uranium'. I could do the experiments in Bulgaria, but if I did, the Turkish authorities would discover them. I don't want the Turkish authorities to discover my experiments, so I want to ask you for permission to do the experiments in Russia. I am also asking if the Russian government would provide money to pay me for my experiments." The Tsar said, "Well, that sounds interesting, Mr. Daal-Baarsin, can you describe your experiments? What sort of experiments are they?"
Daal-Baarsin began to explain his experiments. He said, "For many years, Bulgarians have been skilled in the art and science of metallurgy. Bulgarian metallurgy dates back to the Iron Age and the Bronze Age, according to archaeologists. Bulgarian metal craftsmen have experimented with many types of metals, including tin, copper, iron, steel, gold, silver, and several others. There was one metal in particular that turned out to be very interesting. It is called 'pitchblende', sometimes it is also called 'uranium'. There were metal craftsmen who were experimenting with a piece of pitchblende, and they heated it up, and melted it. Later, they expected it to cool off, but it never cooled off. It remained hot. It was glowing."
The Tsar could hardly believe it. He asked Daal-Baarsin to continue his story. Daal-Baarsin said, "When they tried making bigger and bigger pieces of pitchblende, it became hotter and hotter. A small piece of refined pitchblende would get slightly hot, a bigger piece would get extremely hot. The heat was proportional to it's size. The bigger it was, the hotter it would get. Small pieces would cool off after a few days or a few weeks, but the bigger pieces never cooled off. It was as if the metal was producing it's own energy, there was some kind of energy in the metal itself."
The Tsar was fascinated, he said, "Tell me more!" Daal-Baarsin said, "Pitchblende turned out to be poisonous. People who came into contact with it got sick. Some of the metal craftsmen who touched it died. If they handled it for a long time, they got sick and died. If a man handled it for only a few seconds, he would get a rash on his hands. If he touched a piece of pitchblende with his fingers, he would develop a rash, and blisters on his fingers. We had to take precautions, like handling it with tongs, instead of handling it with our bare hands. When pitchblende was refined to make pure uranium, the uranium was so hot it glowed with an intense glow!"
"The metal craftsmen who handled the uranium were afraid of it because it was so hot, so they decided to throw the uranium into a bucket of water to make it cool off. In a few seconds, it boiled all the water out of the bucket until there was no water left! We added more water, and the additional water was boiled away, too! One of the metal workers said, 'why don't we throw it into the boiler of a steam engine, and see what happens?' So, we did. We got a steam locomotive from a local railroad, and we filled the locomotive's boiler up with water. Then we threw the piece of uranium into the boiler, and closed the hatch. In a few minutes, the heat from the uranium heated all the water in the boiler, and turned the water into steam. We were able to start the steam engine, and actually drive the locomotive for several miles along the railroad tracks, using uranium as our power source! We used no coal! We used only uranium, and we were able to travel for miles!"
The Tsar was stunned. He shouted, "Is this true? A railroad locomotive that needs no coal? It can be powered by uranium?" Daal-Baarsin said, "Yes, your majesty. I want to do more experiments with pitchblende. It could become a power source for railroad locomotives and other machines. Imagine how much wealth and prosperity this will bring to Russia! I want to continue my experiments with pitchblende and uranium, but I don't want to do it in Bulgaria. I am afraid that the Turkish authorities will discover my experiments, so I am asking for your permission to move my experimenhts to Russia. I want to find someplace in Russia that is remote.The location should be as far away from cities and towns as possible. Since uranium is poisonous, I don't want to put people in danger, so my experiments must be conducted in an isolated location."
The Tsar snapped his fingers and said, "I know the perfect place for your experiments! There is a remote region in Siberia. The region is called Tunguska. I will provide money to you for your experiments, and you can begin immediately! The Tunguska region is so far into Siberia, the Turkish authorities will never find it!" Daal-Baarsin bowed to the Tsar, and said, "Thank you, your majesty!"