Vaar Alkemist i Tomegraend (Our Alchemist in Tome Alley), by S. Soederberg (Editor)
Reviewed by Dieter Britz

The life story of John Tandberg, as written by his friends. He worked in the Electrolux laboratories in Stockholm from 1925 to 1962; these were in fact in the street Tomegatan, but the "alley (graend)" in the title comes from a poem about Tandberg. Born in Norway, Tandberg is widely remembered in Sweden as an extraordinary chemist, practical joker, science writer, poet and numerologist, among other things. His place in this list is due to his interest in the fusion of hydrogen and deuterium, which was fired by the articles of Paneth and Peters in 1926. Although they retracted their claims early 1927, Tandberg pursued the work, with the aim of energy generation in mind; and, after making some improvements together with his coworker Torsten Wilner, they attempted to patent the work. The patent was not granted - not because the idea didn't work (it probably didn't) but because it had not been explained satisfactorily. Tandberg didn't let go, however, and throughout the decades at Electrolux he tried new variants on this theme - alongside his normal, and highly successful, work. In the early thirties, he tried to use a lab-built accelerator to shoot protons at targets; this was similar to the work of Cockcroft and Walton, but failed because of the more modest means at Tandberg's disposal. Later, in 1932, he anticipated electrochemical CNF, by electrochemically charging a palladium wire with deuterium. He reasoned that he could compress the deuterium even further by electrically exploding the charged wire, and asked his friend and coworker, Torsten Wilner, to go home, in case there was a dangerous explosion; he had correctly calculated the enormous potential energy release from a fusion reaction. This exploding wire idea (which did not work) in its way anticipated laser-induced fusion - and Daedalus's proposal for a mini-hydrogen bomb (see D Jones alias Daedalus, in section 3). This little book really ought to be published in English.