Tag Archives: quantum

Alpha Radiation, Geiger Counters 101 Part Two

Filed under Basics, Radiation
Tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Alpha radiation was first detected in the late 19th century by Ernest Rutherford. Alpha radiation is the release of two protons and two neutrons with many millions of electron volts of kinetic energy! Alpha radiation is very positivity charged and cannot readily move more than a few centimeters from a source before tuning into normal helium. As a result, alpha radiation is only dangerous when inhaled, ingested, or otherwise allowed into the body.

Three more videos are coming!
Beta Radiation, Geiger Counters 101 Part Three
Gamma and X-Ray Radiation, Geiger Counters 101 Part Four
Radiation Math, Geiger Counters 101 Part Five

Important Websites:
Anti-Proton.com
GeigerCounters.com
RadiationNetwork.com
Medcom.com
Seintl.com

Geiger Counter on an Airplane

Filed under Radiation
Tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Geiger Counter on an Airplane

Last week I took a flight out west and back again. I wanted to take my Geiger Counter but I was worried that they might be banned. Calling the manufacture, two distributors, and a very knowledgeable person I know all, all suggested that Geiger Counters were fine to take on an airplane. I continued to worry, being me, so I checked the TSA’s website. The Website allows you to enter items to search their “banned” list. Geiger Counters, radiation detectors, and nothing of the sort would come up. I searched equivalent devices, i.e. small electronics with simple circuit boards and batteries, only to find all were acceptable to take and even use. Lastly, I contacted the TSA directly using their phone number. I spoke with an agent at length who ensured me that it would be okay if I clearly displayed the device as I was searched. It was worth the risk in the name of science!

Before anyone questions, I should explain that I took the Geiger Counter out of my carry-on and placed it in a separate plastic examination bucket by it’s self. The TSA guards glanced at it and ran it through the X-Ray machine. I only regret not having it on to see what they subjected it to. I figured that was too far. Afterward I have a polite discussion with a TSA screen-er and a passenger who complained, half humorously, about the radiation.

Unruly Passenger

While preparing for my return flight, I had already logged the data, I encountered an immediate use for my new knowledge: A gentleman was just behind me as I reapplied by belt and shoes. He complained out loud about the radiation of the body scanners. The TSA guy was about to say something in rebuttal, but I took a moment, Geiger counter in hand, to step forward and interject my two cents:

“Sir, that back scatter machine is sort of like being electronically raped, but it really only blasts you with a tiny bit of radiation for a few moments. The flight your about to get on will expose you to about a third of a milirem per hour, give or take. A four hour flight and you get 1.2 milirem of radiation. Sir, that means every 33 hours of flight you get a full power chest X-Ray. Doesn’t the doctor hide in a different room and wear a lead smock for that?”. Due to comments, I should note that the body scanner is over a thousand times less (or more) than the flight.

The TSA guy tried with careful determination not to reveal his laughter. The passenger just gave me a strange look, snatched his belt, and walked off. I looked at the TSA agent and shrugged. We were unlikely cohorts in this joke. I personally feel that fully body scanners should tip you a dollar after you’re done giving them a show. I am also annoyed by being subjected to additional radiation, but it seems to go with the flight. Perhaps one day we can abolish fully body scanners in lieu of some better approach.

The Data

I took my Geiger Counter on a Airplane last week and up to an altitude of 36,000 feet. At about 36,000 feet I stuck my hand in my bag and engaged the Geiger Counter without sound. Though they are allowed, I figured a blinking light, digital readout, and ticking noise were inadvisable show general show. I attached the data cable and plugged it into my laptop. Below are the full 17 minutes of readings I took before too many people started watching my screen. Next time, I hope to leave my laptop running with the lid down for a few hours.

17 Minutes at 36,000 feet over the Midwest USA at about early afternoon.

Radiation at 36,000 Feet

Radiation at 36,000 Feet

Minute Date Time Count Total Counts Average Count
1 5/16/11 02:46 PM 317 317 317
2 5/16/11 02:47 PM 338 655 327
3 5/16/11 02:48 PM 300 955 318
4 5/16/11 02:49 PM 318 1,273 318
5 5/16/11 02:50 PM 296 1,569 313
6 5/16/11 02:51 PM 364 1,933 322
7 5/16/11 02:52 PM 305 2,238 319
8 5/16/11 02:53 PM 315 2,553 319
9 5/16/11 02:54 PM 325 2,878 319
10 5/16/11 02:55 PM 303 3,181 318
11 5/16/11 02:56 PM 302 3,483 316
12 5/16/11 02:57 PM 350 3,833 319
13 5/16/11 02:58 PM 346 4,179 321
14 5/16/11 02:59 PM 352 4,531 323
15 5/16/11 03:00 PM 314 4,845 323
16 5/16/11 03:01 PM 366 5,211 325
17 5/16/11 03:02 PM 314 5,525 325

 

In Conclusion

Flying remains quite safe. I am exposed to more danger from driving to the airport than the plane. The radiation I am exposed to is quite low given short duration of the flight.

Cosmic Ray? I Think I Got Hit…

Filed under Radiation, Rants & Misc
Tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cosmic Ray

Cosmic Ray

Nature blasts us, every now and then, with cosmic rays. They high energy particles (gamma, etc) can do considerable damage to a tiny part of our bodies, if they hit. I think I just got hit by one. Check out my graph for the past few hours. Note that the largest spike I have recorded, without a source, occured around 11:53 PM, April 22, 2011 EST (Virginia, USA). I normally have a background of 14 CPM. I hit 36 CPM!

Here is some raw data. Click the Daily Radiation Data! link above to view the current days readings (I update every day or two).

184 4/22/11 11:41 PM 19 2,680 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
185 4/22/11 11:42 PM 13 2,693 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
186 4/22/11 11:43 PM 17 2,710 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
187 4/22/11 11:44 PM 18 2,728 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
188 4/22/11 11:45 PM 12 2,740 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
189 4/22/11 11:46 PM 18 2,758 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
190 4/22/11 11:47 PM 18 2,776 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
191 4/22/11 11:48 PM 15 2,791 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
192 4/22/11 11:49 PM 18 2,809 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
193 4/22/11 11:50 PM 8 2,817 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
194 4/22/11 11:51 PM 8 2,825 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
195 4/22/11 11:52 PM 18 2,843 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10

196 4/22/11 11:53 PM 36 2,879 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10

197 4/22/11 11:54 PM 11 2,890 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
198 4/22/11 11:55 PM 17 2,907 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
199 4/22/11 11:56 PM 20 2,927 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
200 4/22/11 11:57 PM 19 2,946 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
201 4/22/11 11:58 PM 11 2,957 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
202 4/22/11 11:59 PM 10 2,967 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
203 4/23/11 12:00 AM 19 2,986 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
204 4/23/11 12:01 AM 12 2,998 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10
205 4/23/11 12:02 AM 24 3,022 14 38.296452 -77.505621 10

Radioactive Uranium Glassware!!! Oh Noes!!!

Filed under Radiation, Science
Tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I found these three glass ware prices at a friends house. They are radioactive because they contain, most likely, uranium. Their maximum reading, over ten minutes as an average, was 1.05 uSv/hr with the mica window in contact. The readings demenished greatly at 4 inches. The rooms ambient readings were about 0.25 uSv/hr at 10 feet, whe they were normally 0.12 uSv /hr. Note how chicken I am around obviously non harmful levels of radiation. Lol. I will tell you it is safe, then run away. Lol

The glassware is totally safe, even at 100 CPM (1 uSv/hr). I am just a chicken.

Tell me what you think. Would you eat off of this?

Enjoy!

Secondary Ionization With Respect to Criticality Events

Filed under Rants & Misc
Tagged as , , , , , , , , , , , ,