So, PharmK’er and I were at the originator of the chicken sandwich and she wanted a balloon. She then asked why said balloon was floating. Dad was safe in explaining how helium is lighter than the nitrogen-oxygen-carbon dioxide mixture we breathe.
Then came the killer:
“Daddy, where does the helium come from to fill the balloons?”
“A compressed gas cylinder” was not the answer she was looking for.
Thankfully, PharmMom, MD, consulted “the great big book of everything.”
Commercial helium is fractionated from natural gas, where it comprises about 7-8% of its volume, particularly in deposits within 400 km of Amarillo, Texas. The decay of uranium and thorium into alpha particles provides the higher concentration of helium observed in natural gas deposits in Texas.
I can’t imagine what awaits us during the teenage years.