This sea of radiation in which we live is usually

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This sea of radiation in which we live is usually called background. This radiation constantly kills or alters the cells in our body and our bodies have evolved to handle the repair at the cellular level. Significantly higher levels of radiation however can overwhelm this cellular self- repair mechanism. In this laboratory, you will solve problems related to the nature of interactions between particles produced by radioactive decay and matter. You will also determine the rate of background radiation for comparison. O BJECTIVES : Successfully completing this laboratory should enable you to: Quantitatively determine the level of background radiation. Understand the statistical nature of radioactive decay and the process of counting. Predict the relationship between distance from a radioactive source and the count rate. Determine the different types of particles emitted by radioactive decay by the effects of different shielding material. 189
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LAB 8: NUCLEAR PHENOMENA • Understand how the effectiveness of radiation shielding depends on the shielding thickness, for different shielding materials and different types of radiation. • Test for relationships among measured quantities by producing a linear graph with data with an non-linear functional dependence. P REPARATION : Before you come to lab, 1) Read Sternheim & Kane chapter 30 sections 30.1-30.3 & 30.9. 2) Set up and solve the equation that describes the lifetime of a radioactive nucleus. 3) Use graphical techniques to determine the parameters in that equation. 190
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PROBLEM #1: DISTANCE FROM THE SOURCE You have a job working in a cancer treatment facility that prepares radioactive isotopes. Although you take great care to handle them properly, you know that some body parts are more sensitive to radiation than others. After all, you may want to have children some day. To address your worry, you decide to use geometry to calculate how the rate of particles emitted from a radioactive source going through a sensitive area of your body depends on the distance from the source. You will test your calculation in the laboratory using a small radioactive source and a Geiger counter to detect the emitted particles. Is this relationship different for different types of particles? Read Sternheim & Kane chapter 30 sections 30.1-30.3 & 30.9. E QUIPMENT You have a Radiation Monitor (Geiger counter) connected to a LabPro Interface device and the LoggerPro software. You will also have different radioactive sources: both a beta source, and a gamma source. If you need assistance, send an email to [email protected] . Include the room number and brief description of the problem. W ARM UP 1. Draw a large sphere centered on a small radioactive source. Write down the fraction of the particles produced by the source that pass through the surface of that sphere.
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