There was more than one response to the nuclear age. Countering well-documented attitudes of protest and pessimism, Muriel Howorth (1886–1971) models a less examined strain of atomic enthusiasm in British nuclear culture. Believing that the same power within the atomic bomb could be harnessed to make the world a ‘smiling garden of Eden’, she utilized traditionally feminine domains of kitchen and garden in her efforts to educate the public about the potential of the atom and to ‘safeguard’ it on their behalf. Boldly entering an overtly masculine arena in which, as a woman and a layperson, she was doubly an ‘other’, Howorth used a variety of publications, organizations and staged events to interpret atomic science and specifically to address women. Her efforts, dating roughly from 1948 to 1962, preceded but had broad overlaps with official Atoms for Peace programmes, and culminated in the formation of the Atomic Gardening Society in 1960 to promote the cultivation of gamma-irradiated seeds by British gardeners.
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