The Irvhank Effect was the name given by Irv Farmer and Hank Jeter to an effect they accidentally discovered that could remotely control radioactive decay. The name was created from their first names.
The effect was discovered by accident during a power outage at a laboratory the two worked at. Jeter was looking at his pocket watch when the lights went out and could not read its Radium dial. Later that evening, he looked at it again and saw that the glow was back in dim light. The two went back to the lab, recreated the experiment and saw that the watch no longer glowed. A Geiger counter indicated the radioactive decay of the Radium had stopped. When the lab equipment was shut down, it started again.
The two did not tell anyone about the effect. Instead, they began investigating it on their own, using the lab equipment but on their own time. Indeed they often worked into the wee small hours. The initial effect was very strong, eliminating all radioactivity except for weak background radiation. However, it had a limited range of only ten meters. Over the course of several months, the two experimented and eventually developed equipment that generated a weaker but more extensive effect.
Their calculations indicated that it would stop the chain reaction in nuclear weapons but allow a nuclear reactor to continue to operate. Their calculations also indicated that it would cover most of the United States. Testing this would prove problematic. However, the two determined that the US Government was going to conduct a nuclear test at Nellis Air Force Base. Unsure of the accuracy of their calculations, the two took vacation time and spent it in nearby Las Vegas. On the day of the test, they rented a pick-up truck, loaded it with their equipment and a generator and drove cross-country in the dessert towards Nellis. They stopped well away from the base's boundary and set up. The time of the test came and went with no earth tremors. They waited twenty minutes and then turned off their apparatus. Immediately, they felt a light earthquake.
The two returned home in a celebratory mood. They set up the apparatus in Jeter's apartment and activated it figuring it would protect the U.S. from any nuclear attack. The two then began writing up their findings in a science paper which would also announce a world free from the threat of nuclear war.