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Educator Resource: Field Trip

Radiation – It’s Everywhere!

Working as scientists and engineers, students will use what they learn about a materials ability to shield against ionizing radiation to design a safeguard for a model of the LZ dark matter detector.
Level
Middle School
Time required
~1 hour

Scientists searching for dark matter at the Sanford Underground Research Facility use almost a mile of rock to shield the immense LZ dark matter detector from cosmic radiation coming from the Sun. However, the rock itself contains natural radiation! This can create deceiving signals in the LZ dark matter detector, which would mask genuine signals from astonishingly rare dark matter interactions. Students will be challenged to design a solution to this engineering problem. Teams will explore radiation sources and a variety of shielding materials in order to build an enclosure to protect the model LZ Dark Matter detector against ionizing radiation.