AKA David Charles Hahn
Birthplace: Royal Oak, MI
Location of death: Shelby Township, MI
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Great Lakes National Cemetery, Holly, MI
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Do-it-yourself nuclear reactor
Military service: US Navy
Beginning in 1993, inspired by The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments and science classes, a teenaged Michigan Boy Scout named David Hahn tried to build a breeder reactor in a storage shed outside his home. Needless to say, his mother, scoutmaster, and local authorities were unaware of the details of this project. The boy's knowledge of chemistry and physics was well beyond that of his high school peers, and he posed as "Professor Hahn" in a series of letters to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission official, who cooperatively answered his questions in great detail. He built his own neutron gun, ordered and received small quantities of uranium-235 and uranium-238 from a Czechoslovakian firm, and made his own nitric acid to isolate uranium.
His safety precautions, however, ranged from nonexistent to laughable, and Hahn decided to end his project when his Geiger counter detected radiation from the shed even hundreds of feet away. He left assorted radioactive materials in his mother's house and in the shed, and stacked most of his equipment in the trunk of his Pontiac. Police, later questioning Hahn after reports of a prowler, were astounded when they searched his car and discovered what looked like the makings of a bomb in the trunk, and they were more concerned when Hahn thoughtfully warned them that the material was radioactive. His mother's shed and home required decontamination by an EPA hazardous materials clean-up team.
In his twenties, Hahn served as a US Navy seaman on the USS Enterprise, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, where his duties did not involve contact with the ship's reactors. In 2007, at the age of 31, he pled guilty to stealing smoke detectors, which contain small amounts of radioactive material, and according to an Associated Press report, authorities suspected that Hahn was trying to obtain a radioactive isotope from the material in the smoke detectors. In his 2007 mug shot, Hahn had dozens of radiation burns on his face. His 90-day jail sentence was postponed for six months so that he could undergo treatment for radiation exposure at a Veterans Administration hospital.
Father: Kenneth Hahn (automotive engineer)
Mother: Patricia Hahn ("Patty", d. suicide)
Mother: Kathy Missig (stepmother)
Girlfriend: Heather Beaudette (high school girlfriend)
High School: Chippewa Valley High School, Clinton Township, MI
University: Macomb Community College, Warren, MI (attended, 1995-96)
Boy Scouts of America
Larceny Clinton Township, MI (1-Aug-2007), convicted for theft of smoke detectors
Risk Factors: Smoking, Bipolar Disorder
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