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Teachers' Workshop

Seeing Radiation:  Nuclear Science Experiments

A Teacher Workshop for Science Educators: Grades 9-12

Friday, March 11, 2016 8:00am-5:00pm

The Teacher's Workshop reached capacity on February 4, 2016.  We are currently maintaining a waitlist

This workshop will focus on using cloud chambers and Geiger counters to help teach the principles of radioactivity and radiation.   Participants will receive a wealth of materials - a cloud chamber kit and Geiger counter, workbooks, and classroom activities.  This workshop will include a tour of research facilities and lectures by leading scientists.  The educational material is targeted for high school science teachers, grades 9-12. 

Preliminary Topics

  • What is radiation?
  • How is it measured?
  • Where does it come from?
  • What experiments can you do in your school?

Sponsors:  The American Nuclear Society (ANS) and the Northern California Chapter of the Health Physics Society are proud to sponsor this workshop.  Scientists and engineers from the Northern California Section of both professional societies (ANS-NCS and NCCHPS) are presenting the material.  UC Berkeley Nuclear Engineering Department is generously providing facilities for the event. 

Funding for the workshop is provided in part by the Northern California Section of the American Nuclear Society, in part by the Northern California Chapter of the Health Physics Society, and through individual and organizational contributions to the American Nuclear Society (ANS)

Educational Opportunities for Your Students

  • Do you have a science student who could benefit from a science and engineering summer camp at a leading university?  Financial support is available to provide this opportunity free to  high school juniors and seniors.  For more information, see
  • Do you have a graduating science student whose college education you would like to support?  The ANS-NCS also offers science and engineering scholarships to graduating high school seniors.  More information will be provided at the Teacher Workshop.

Workshop Topics

The purpose of the workshop is to enhance understanding of basic nuclear science and provide teachers with information and activities that they can use in their classrooms.  The workshop will feature presentations and demonstrations by scientists and engineers on the following topics:

  • Radiation
 We build a cloud chamber to view alpha, beta and gamma radiation.
  • Isotopes
 These are used as radio-tracers in medicine, research and industry.
  • Geiger counters

           How do they work?  Government surplus counters will be demonstrated and handed out.

We will provide attentees with various handouts and teaching aids.  These will include: cloud chamber kits, science and engineering career brochures for students, and resources for obtaining additional information.  Geiger counters will be given out for classroom use (subject to availability).

Tentative Schedule

8:00 am Registration - Coffee and Donuts
8:30 am Welcome, introduction by Professor Karl van Bibber, UC Berkeley
9:00 am Nuclear Radiation Basics
9:45 am Cloud Chamber Experiment
10:30 am ABC's of Radioactivity
11:15 am Energy and the Environment research lecture
12:00 pm Lunch (provided at the facility)
1:15 pm Tour at LBL or UCB Nuclear Engineering Department Materials Science Labs
2:30 pm Geiger Counter Experiment and Use
3:30 pm A lecture on current topics in the nuclear industry, health physics or nuclear engineering
4:45 pm Evaluation and Conclusion


The workshop registration is free, but as spaces are limited, it is important to RSVP as soon as possible.  Lunch will be provided as part of the workshop.  We are asking school administrators to consider this workshop an in-service professional development activity.

The Teacher's Workshop reached capacity on February 4, 2016.  If you would like to be on the waitlist, please complete the registration form

Please respond early; registrations will be taken on a first come-first served basis and space is limited to 25 participants.  Once you have registered, we will provide you with more information, including directions to the facility.  If you have any questions regarding directions or registration, or any technical questions regarding the workshop, you can email or call Sara Harmon at or at 510-642-4077.

Can’t attend the workshop? Interested in nuclear science and technology? Want information and ideas for your classroom?

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