On Saturday 25th May 2013 20 plus folk descended on the Institute of Physics HQ in London to get trained up and to get their hands on an MX-10 detector. These are single chip versions of one of the detectors used in the LHC. They detect alpha, beta, gamma, X-rays and “others”, whatever they are. (http://www.jablotron.com/en/about-jablotron-1/about-us/international-cooperation/the-technology-behind-the-mx-10.aspx)
Tom Whyntie took us through the necessary to get things up and running and then we sat watching the screen. Some of us were looking at error messages and the like because we had problems with the software. Others were looking at the detector results, I was one of the lucky ones.
I brought some thoriated welding electrodes with me, or so I thought. Given the total lack of activity I appear to have discovered a stable thorium isotope. Gazinga! Dave Cotton bought some uranium glass and thoriated gas mantles and they worked a treat.
Then we all took them home and get to have a play ourselves. Soon they’ll be going into schools: http://www.thelangtonstarcentre.org/index.php/cernschool