Honor the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor by Learning Some Fascinating WWII History


Tuesday, December 06, 2016 – 6:30 PM

A guarded secret for decades, learn how enriched uranium from Nazi Germany came to be used in United States’ atomic bombs. Researcher Carter Hydrick will detail the surrender of U-boat 234 and its cargo of 1,120 pounds of uranium that was concealed in nose of the U-boat in sealed cylinders lined with gold. Hydrick has tracked this shipment to the Manhattan Project and both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs.

Book signing of Critical Mass following lecture.

Members $12, Tickets $18



Praise for Critical Mass!

Compelling … as gripping as good fiction. Hydrick’s book is important history well written.
Tony Hillerman
New York Times Best Selling Author
Retired Journalism Professor
Decorated Hero of D-Day and the Italian Front

Certainly leads the experienced physicist to believe.
Dr. Delmar Bergen, retired
Director, Weapons Program Office
Los Alamos National Laboratory

The assertion in Critical Mass that the uranium surrendered to U.S. authorities onboard the German submarine U-234 was enriched U-235 [enriched uranium] is certainly a credible conclusion in view of the storage, containment and prevailing shipping conditions.
Dr. Gary Sandquist
Former Instructor of Nuclear Engineering
United States Military Academy, West Point

“Critical Mass brings to the surface defining new information, long hidden within archives, about the birth of the Atomic Bomb…. Should be in every library.”
D. Ray Smith
Oak Ridge Y-12 (uranium enrichment facility) Historian

“This is a fascinating book…with excellent primary source research.”
Joe Sills
Former United Nations spokesperson

“Critical Mass offers the scholar of modern history and the World War Two history buff important new information about the race for the atomic bomb. Its conclusions, based on primary sources, that the Manhattan Project used atomic bomb components received from Nazi Germany in the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, appear plausible and logical. Hydrick’s well-written account provides lucid understanding of hitherto unknown and important aspects of the birth of the Nuclear Age.”
Dr. Anthony Stranges
Associate Professor of Modern Military Science and Technology
Texas A&M University

“This book is a well-researched, well-reasoned, well-written persuasive argument for a revised interpretation of an important, perhaps even critical, chapter in our modern history. It deserves a careful reading and to be taken seriously by both scholars and laymen alike.”
Dr. Douglas F. Tobler
Professor of Modern German History, Emeritus
Brigham Young University

“A coherent and well researched history of events that have been covered up for half a centuryexciting and revealing!”
Otis Maclay
Pacifica Radio Host

“The best primary source research I have seen in a long, long time.”
Gordon Fowkes, Lt. Colonel, US Army (Ret),
University of Houston Military History Symposium

Was the uranium surrendered to the United States on a German U-boat really enriched?

“The facts that the uranium captured from Nazi Germany was: 1)stowed in gold-lined containers that, 2) were cylindrical in shape, 3) each possibly carrying half a critical mass, 4) that were described as becoming ‘sensitive and dangerous’ when opened, and 5) should be handled like TNT, certainly leads the experienced physicist to believe the material was enriched uranium. I cannot fathom anyone at the time taking such careful precautions, or claiming such danger, about comparatively harmless natural uranium.”

Dr. Delmar Bergen, retired
Former Director, Nuclear Weapons Program
Los Alamos National Laboratory

How did the Germans obtain the enriched uraniumwas an alleged synthetic rubber plant actually a uranium enrichment facility?

“Based on the information Mr. Hydrick presents, and my own knowledge of two World War Two SBR rubber plants, I find it hard to believe the traditional explanation that the Germans spent four fruitless years trying to bring a rubber plant on line, the technology for which they had previously developed, proven and used. I also cannot comprehend, nor do I believe, a buna plant of that time period consumed as much power as the eighth largest city in the world (Berlinas stated by the directors of the plant).”

George M. Ladzun, retired
Former Director, Process Development, Zeon Chemicals
Former Manager of two synthetic rubber plants
Former Process Engineer for buna plant start-up, BF Goodrich

“The electrical consumption that I.G. Farben’s directors described at their buna plant at Auschwitz is very much in line with the huge electrical requirements for electro-magnetically enriching uranium.”

Dr. Delmar Bergen, retired
Former Director, Nuclear Weapons Program
Los Alamos National Laboratory

“It was not a rubber plant. You can bet your bottom dollar on that.”

Ed Landry
Former President and General Manager
Keystone Polymers, Inc.

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The World’s Oldest Vegetarian Poop?

Winding through the Paleozoic section of our Morian Hall of Paleontology, past the trilobotes, the placoderms, the Sea Scorpions and the other terrifying creatures that roamed the earth at that time, you will eventually come to what we affectionately call our “wall of poop“. It’s in the Permian section of the Hall, to the right of the big Dimetrodon model. The wall has some amphibian skulls, part of a Dimetrodon jaw, and a whole bunch of coprolites.





Coprolites are fossilized feces. It may sound gross, but these coprolites are important to science! For example, we know for sure that T. rex’s ate Triceratops’ in part because we find triceratops bones in T. rex coprolites. In the same way, we have learned about the diets and lifestyles of Permian-era creatures (who lived millions of year before T. rex) in our hall by studying these coprolites.

One very interesting piece is a coprolite that was most likely produced by a herbivorous animal. This is a big deal because as far as we know, land-dwelling, herbivorous reptiles were just evolving in the Permian. They show up later in the fossil record because herbivores have more complex digestive systems than carnivores do. You know how cows have eight stomachs, have to regurgitate their food and chew it a few times so they can digest it? Well, that’s because most plants are really hard to digest. So the idea is that the first land-dwelling animals were carnivores and some of them later evolved more complex digestive systems to eat plants.



The coprolite we’re discussing is believed to be herbivorous because of its shape and consistency. Compare it (above) to the pictures of those of a carnivore (top of article) and you will notice that the meat-eaters generally produce straight, smooth coprolites, while our vegetarian coprolite is coiled and lumpy. It is believed that the herbivore who produced this particular coprolite was Diadectes, a model of which is pictured below.




Do you like coprolites? Are you interested in learning more about vegetarian evolution? Do you have a hilarious or, better yet, informative comment about this blog? Feel free to leave a comment by clicking the little bubble at the top of this post. We want to hear from you! 


Also, don’t forget to share us!

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HMNS Weekly Happenings


img_0736Lecture – Scales in Amber: Lizards that ‘Resinate’ Through Deep Time by Juan Daza

Lizards preserved in Amber! New to science! The order Squamata is represented today by lizards and snakes (9900 species). Lizards were probably established by the Late Jurassic, although their ancestors were likely present in the Triassic. Amber deposits around the world have been trapping lizards since the Early Cretaceous. In this talk we will be traveling to three continents and six geological horizons to see what these fossil resins have to tell us about the history of these animals in the planet.

The lecture will be held TODAY. Novmber 30, 2016, but tickets are still available!

Tickets $18, Members $12




Check out our new Augmented Reality screen!

Now on display in our Glassel Hall, stand in front of our large screen and see yourself transported to another reality in which dinosaurs from various periods still roam the earth! Try not to get stomped on by a passing Brachiosaurus or munched on by a T-rex.


New Planetarium Show: Mystery of the Christmas Star



Journey back over 2000 years to Bethlehem as we seek to discover a scientific explanation for the star the wise men followed to find the baby Jesus. This modern retelling of the Christmas story is sure to charm and captivate audiences of all ages.

Winner of five Telly Awards.

November 18, 2016 (Friday)December 26, 2016 (Monday)
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Give Back and Help the Scientists of Tomorrow #GivingTuesday


At HMNS, our love of learning is evident in everything we do. We provide education programs for ALL age groups, from interactive labs for students to world-class exhibit halls to phenomenal films in our Burke Baker Planetarium and Wortham Giant Screen Theatre. Help us inspire philanthropy and encourage charitable giving during the holiday season by showing your support for HMNS. Your gift will play a pivotal role in introducing our 500,000 annual student visitors to the wonders of science and the awe of our natural world.


Help HMNS reach its  Giving Tuesday fundraising goal of $10,000!

You can be part of #GivingTuesday by showing your support of the Houston Museum of Natural Science! Make your gift of any size, then be sure to share your participation on Facebook and Twitter, using #GivingTuesday and #HMNS hashtags.

  1. Donate Today!
  2. Share #GivingTuesday and #HMNS on social media!
  3. Tell your network why you supported HMNS this Giving Tuesday! Download the #UNselfie form.



Q: How will the money be used?

A: Unless otherwise instructed by the donor, all Giving Tuesday donations will be directed to the Museum’s Annual Fund. The Annual Fund is the heart of the Museum’s fundraising efforts and provides for the basic needs of the institution.

Q: Are gifts tax-deductible?

A: The Houston Museum of Natural Science is a 501(c)3 organization. Your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.


If you have any additional questions about Giving Tuesday or giving in general, please contact us at 713.639.4629 or development@hmns.org.

Thank you so much for your participation in #GivingTuesday. Every dollar makes a difference!

Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity. Giving Tuesday uses the power of social media to inspire people give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support. #GivingTuesday!

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