Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Archimedes Plutonium (born July 5, 1950) is primarily noted for his varied and eccentric contributions to Usenet. Plutonium repeatedly claimed to be the greatest living scientist, and referred to himself at least once as "The King of Science", although he is almost universally regarded as a crank. One of Plutonium's earliest and most memorable posts in December, 1993 replies to Andrew Wiles report on the status of his proof of Fermat's last theorem.
Since strong user authentication was rarely used on Usenet during its early stages, some had suggested that Plutonium might have been a series of hoaxes or a practical joke. However, Plutonium is a real person, as is shown by a photograph and article about him in the Dartmouth College campus newspaper on November 11, 1991 . Nevertheless, one cannot be sure that all posts attributed to Plutonium were indeed his.
Plutonium was born with the name Ludwig Poehlmann in Arzberg , Germany. His family came to the United States of America in his youth, settling near Cincinnati, Ohio. According to an autobiography he posted to Usenet in the 1990s, Ludwig was adopted in his teens by a local real-estate investor named Willis Hansen, and his name was changed to Ludwig Hansen. His autobiography stated that he received an undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of Cincinnati and did some graduate work at a university in Utah, but headed off to Melbourne, Australia, to serve as a mathematics tutor in the early 1970s. He returned to the United States later in the 1970s, and, according to his autobiography, inherited his adoptive father's real-estate holdings, which he claimed to have parlayed into a large fortune through stock market investments in the 1980s. His autobiography also stated that he spent some time in the United States Navy during the 1980s. At some point after his adoptive father's death, he changed his name to Ludwig von Ludwig, under which he may have first posted to Usenet at the start of the 1990s.
Plutonium was long observed on the campus of Dartmouth College, where he rode around on a bicycle and wore an orange hunting hat and a homemade cape decorated with atomic symbols in Magic Marker. Plutonium worked as a potwasher at the Hanover Inn , which the college owns. When asked on Usenet how this observed job jibed with his claims of wealth, Plutonium explained that he only took the job in order to get Internet access. In 1999 Plutonium posted various complaints about the management of Dartmouth, calling for a strike by workers there and suggesting various conspiracy theories concerning University administrators . Plutonium lost his job at Dartmouth about August of 1999. After making what he termed "science odyssey tours" of the United States and Europe, Plutonium then moved to rural Meckling, South Dakota, where he resumed his Usenet posting, saying he now lives on a "homestead" apparently consisting of a house, two Airstream trailers, and a grove of various sorts of trees.
In late 1990, Plutonium claims to have had the realization of his Plutonium Atom Totality Theory, which he claimed to be one of the most important breakthroughs in scientific history. According to this theory, the Universe is a giant plutonium atom, and the part of the universe we are able to observe from Earth, including Earth itself, is somewhere in its outer electron shells. He then changed his name to Ludwig Plutonium. In autumn of 1994 he claims to have realized that he was the reincarnation of the great early Greek scientist Archimedes, and so once again changed his name to Archimedes Plutonium.
Plutonium's assessment of his ideas
In December 2004, an unauthenticated internet posting believed to be from Plutonium provided a list of a "small example of the new ideas I have discovered" ranked "in order of merit". The list (with his explanations summarized and edited) is as follows:
- Plutonium Atom Totality theory. According to this theory, there was no Big Bang, but rather growth from a "Hydrogen Atom Totality" into the present "Plutonium Atom Totality", in which "the galaxies are dots of the electron dot cloud".
- Fusion Barrier Principle. Quoting Plutonium, "Fission energy is the highest form of energy that is able to be controlled and surpass breakeven".
- Unification of the Forces of Physics as a Coulomb Unification.
- Stonethrowing theory. This theory states that the difference between apes and humans resulted some 8 to 10 million years ago from a solo quadruped ape that "started throwing rocks overarm and overhead". This activity gave the ape advantages in getting food and more females for mating purposes "by killing other rivals using throwing".
- Possibility of global warming reversal. According to Plutonium's theory, there exists a CFC variant or methyl molecule that when produced and released will act as an "upper atmosphere earth air conditioner and reverse global warming".
In his autobiography (entitled at one point Ludwig Plutonium: the Chosen One, and claimed to be 2200 pages), Plutonium claims he started posting to Usenet on August 12 of 1993 under the name of Ludwig Plutonium. He posts and cross-posts to a wide variety of groups on Usenet, especially in the sci. (science) hierarchy. Other than the Plutonium ATOM Totality Theory, one of his most noteworthy announcements was that he has a single plutonium atom at the center of his brain, which makes him a super genius. He claims this follows from the Plutonium Atom Totality Theory according to which thoughts and ideas do not originate in our own minds but are created in the nucleus of the atom-universe by the deities who reside there. The plutonium atom at the center of his brain improves his brain's ability to pick up the thoughts beamed out by the nuclear deities.
He is also known for posting about his favorite types of fruit and candy to unrelated science newsgroups. On other occasions he is believed to have rather ineptly attempted to forge posts under the names of those who contradicted his claims.
Plutonium sometimes claimed on Usenet to be independently wealthy from his investments, and on occasion he would post about his stock investment strategies, sometimes seeking out an ideal investment strategy that he could compare to an ideal game of chess. In fact, most of Plutonium's Usenet postings on what he referred to as science seemed to stem from his ability to draw unusual and sometimes bizarre comparisons; for instance the similarity he claimed to see between the entire universe and an atom (but this is hardly original since Ray Cummings wrote his novel Girl in the Golden Atom in 1919), or the similarity between quantum tunneling and the pouring of breakfast cereal from its box.
Archimedes Plutonium is often nicknamed "Arky", "Archy", "Archie", "Archy Pu", or "Archie Pu" by others on the internet. His exploits are followed religiously and commented on with a mixture of mockery and amazement on the newsgroup alt.religion.kibology.
- "Calm down, man, this is only the Internet, this isn't Vietnam, go play some par golf or tennis set" 
- "When an electron is collapsed, i.e., under observation then the electron transforms into a ball, a particle, and not the dots which go to making-up of the particle." Quote explaining collapse of the wavefunction from Plutonium's treatise .
- Archimedes Plutonium website It is currently disabled. Here is the archive.org archive of it. Here you can access his huge autobiography and some other stuff.
- This site appears to be Plutonium's current website
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