1952
1952

Atomic Blueprint Scare

Two teenage boys walked into a London police station and handed over a folder that appeared to contain blueprints for an atomic device. The boys said they had found the folder lying on the pavement at a bus stop. British authorities immediately went into high alert. Concern reached the highest levels of government, with members of the House of Commons informed of a possible loss of atomic secrets. The media got wind of the situation as well, raising public alarm. But when physicists finally got around to examining the documents, they couldn't make any sense of them and eventually concluded they were meaningless. The mystery was solved when a friend of the two boys, 15-year-old Victor Mehra, confessed he had created the papers out of old Norwegian blueprints he had found in the office where he worked. As a prank, he had written a lot of gibberish on the papers and titled them Plan for Atomic Device C.D.ZZ 29679 Nuclear Physics Pattern O. 778523 — Top Secret. Then he gave the folder to his friends, telling them he had found it lying in the street.