Simple tools for discovering the radioactivity around us.
Venaruzzo M., Mattone C., Alberi M., Chiarelli E., Garosi P., Loffredo F., Quarto M., Raptis K., Strati V.
One of the main goals of CAEN educational tools is to inspire students and guide them towards the analysis and comprehension of different physics phenomena with a series of experiments based on state-of-the-art technologies, instruments, and methods. An example of these applications is the discovery of the environmental radioactivity. Although the radioactivity is all around us, the collective public imagination often associates a negative feeling with this natural phenomenon. To increase the familiarity with it, CAEN has designed dedicated kits: the first one is composed of a CsI scintillator coupled to a matrix of photodetectors and of several samples and materials. Students are asked to directly calibrate the system in terms of energy and acquire gamma spectra to study the composition of different samples. The second kit is a portable detection backpack with NaI scintillator for measuring the environmental radiation outdoor in a few minutes. These activities combine theoretical background, hands-on setup operations, data analysis, and critical synthesis of the results.