Ask the Experts: The Physics of Trump

First in a series, in which we ask smart people dumb questions

Donald Trump is no longer president, but could he have other uses? He might if his body were composed of rare radioactive isotopes. We asked Dr. Mark Wood, Professor of Chemistry and the Director of Pre-Health Science Programs at Missouri’s Drury University, what might be the pluses and minuses of a Trump-sized piece of cesium-137:

TK: How long would it take to produce a quantity of cesium-137 in the size and shape of Donald Trump? For reference, he's listed at 243 pounds.

Wood: You mean, how many cesium atoms will it take to get somebody the size of Donald Trump? 

TK: That’ll do. 

Wood: That would have been a better question, because it would have been a lot of cesium atoms… How long would it take is a different question. Probably a few hours. 

TK: How many atoms it would take?

Wood: It would take around 6.022 x 10^26 atoms. Here's an easier answer. 10^26th atoms, is one Donald Trump.

TK: What would happen if you dropped a Trump-sized piece of cesium-137 into a slightly larger-than-Trump-sized can of Diet Coke?

Wood: If it was radioactive cesium, it would... be bad for everybody in the building. 

TK: How much energy would be produced by burning a Trump sized piece of cesium? Could you use it for space travel?

Wood: It could probably take you to Alpha Centauri.

TK: Cesium-137 has medical uses. Could a Trump-sized piece of cesium-17 treat cancers?

Wood: You'd have to have a lot of people with cancer. Yeah, you could, they’d just have to stand a long way away.

TK: Thanks.

Wood: Have a nice day.