Experimental Modern and Quantum Physics for Do-It-Yourself Science Enthusiasts 

Facebook Flickr LinkedIn YouTube RSS
magnify
formats

80 µCi Americium-241 Sources Inside Old Pyrotronics F3/5A Smoke Detectors

Pyrotronics F3/5A 80uCi Am-241 Source

These are pictures of the Americium-241 sources inside some old Pyrotronics F3/5A smoke detectors that were being decommissioned.  The activity of the Am-241 sources at the time of manufacture (1970s) totaled  80 µCi, so they should still have some ~70 µCi left in them.

80uCi Am-241 Label on Pyrotronics F3/5A smoke detector

The Pyrotronics F3/5A smoke detectors were manufactured in the early 1970s. The radioactive sources consist of americium oxide mixed with gold powder and formed into a small billet. This billet was then placed between a sheet of silver and a sheet of gold and rolled into a foil under high heat and pressure.  Americium-241 decays primarily by alpha particle emission to neptunium-237, along with low energy gamma radiation, with a 59.5 keV gamma emission being most prominent.

Read more…

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

I Really Understand QM…

I really understand Quantum Physics, or may be not...  www.diyPhysics.com  David and Shanni Prutchi

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
2 Comments  comments 
formats

A Low-Cost, Super-Sensitive Paint Can Scintillation Probe for the Prutchi CDV700-Pro

 

Shanni Prutchi Paint Can Scintillator PMT www.diyphysics.com

We just finished constructing a low-cost, yet highly sensitive gamma-ray scintillation probe for our CDV700-Pro counter.  The probe is based on a Philips XP5312/SN photomultiplier tube (that is available from Sphere Research) and a piece of scintillation plastic.  The probe yields a background count of approximately 1,000 counts/minute (cpm) in our lab, and 7,400 cpm from a 137Cs 6.7 µCi exempt source at a distance of 30 cm.  The probe’s sensitivity, portability and rugged construction make it an ideal choice for surveying.

Read more…

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
10 Comments  comments 
formats

Bad Physics at the Equator – Shame on the Intiñan Solar Museum!

Abigail Prutchi at the official "Mitad del Mundo" monument commemorating the 18th Century French Geodesic Mission marking of the Equator

Abigail Prutchi at the official “Mitad del Mundo” monument commemorating the 18th Century French Geodesic Mission marking of the Equator

Abigail and I just returned from a trip to the Galapagos Islands.  On the way, we visited the iconic Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World) monument which commemorates the 18th-century French Geodesic Mission expedition carried out for the purpose of measuring the roundness of the Earth and measuring the length of a degree of latitude at the Equator.

The monument is constructed at the site where the Geodesic Mission calculated the passing of the Equator.  Modern measurements show that the Equator actually crosses about 240 meters north of the marked line.  Not bad at all for 18th-Century Physics, and an accomplishment worthy of the beautiful monument that commemorates it!

The Intiñan Solar Museum is a shameless tourist trap.  Tour guides get a kickback from the uscrupulous owners of this site where credulous turists are shown tricks that supposedly can happen only at the Equator.  This is prime wxample of Bad Physics fueled by greed!

The Intiñan Solar Museum is a shameless tourist trap. Tour guides get a kickback from the unscrupulous owners of this site where credulous tourists are shown tricks that supposedly can happen only at the Equator. This is a prime example of Bad Physics fueled by greed!

Recently however, a group of unscrupulous investors led by Mr. Humberto Vera started the Intiñan Solar Museum, which reportedly marks the true Equator.  Not true!

Tour guides take tourists there because the museum pays them a kickback (which the official Mitad del Mundo doesn’t).

Read more…

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
1 Comment  comments 
formats

Article in SJ Voice: Father & Daughter Team Up to Make Science Accessible for Everyone

From today’s SJ Voice:

Article in SJ Voice Newspaper about David and Shanni Prutchi

Click here for the full article.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
1 Comment  comments 
formats

diyPhysics on Scientific American

Blog from Scientific American Magazine for diyPhisics David and Shanni Prutchi

George Musser – an editor at Scientific American (and author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to String Theory”) – visited our basement lab a few weeks ago.  Today he published a very nice blog about us on the Scientific American site.  Thanks George!

Click here for the blog.

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

Happy Quantum Halloween!


 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

New Book by Prof. Mark Beck – Great Complement to Our diy Quantum Physics Book!

Quantum Mechanics Theory and Experiment by Mark Beck, www.diyPhysics.comProf. Mark Beck from the Dept. of Physics at Whitman College recently published an excellent book titled “Quantum Mechanics: Theory and Experiment.”  It is written for an advanced undergraduate/graduate quantum mechanics class.  This book presents the theory in its full formalism (with thorough, high-level math), as well as describes five laboratory experiments that explore the use of entangled photons in the undergraduate lab.

Prof. Beck’s laboratory experiments use the same type of system as we describe in Chapter 8 of Exploring Quantum Physics Through Hands-On Projects, so if you are up to the math, we heartily recommend this book to continue your exploration with your entangled-photon system.

Read more…

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

Using the $79 SainSmart DSO201 Pocket Oscilloscope and GammaGrapher with the PMT/Scintillation Probe

Connects directly to PMT probe shown in the book’s Figure 30 with no need for PMT amplifier!

 

Freeware Gamma Grapher MCA with diy PMT Scintillation Probe by David and Shanni Prutchi diyPhysics.com

The nice guys at the Yahoo GammaSpectrometry Group developed multichannel analyzer software for the $79 SainSmart DSO201 Pocket-Sized Digital Oscilloscope.  The upload of the MCA software to the oscilloscope is really easy (via USB), and it allows the PMT probe shown in the book’s Figure 30 to be connected directly to the oscilloscope’s input with no need for a PMT amplifier!

Read more…

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
3 Comments  comments 
formats

A Low-Cost X-Band Generator for Microwave Optics Experiments

Parallax X-Band Microwave Transmitter for diy Quantum Tunneling and Microwave Optics Experiments

Gunnplexers are becoming scarce in the surplus market, but X-band motion detection is very much alive.  X-band detection modules are available for OEM applications, and fortunatelly, Parallax has a unit based on this module available for $34.99.

Read more…

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

diy Quantum Physics on MAKE Magazine (Volume 31)

diy Quantum Physics was featured in Make Magazine, Volume 31:  Punk Science (page 76).

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

diy Quantum Physics Book Featured in Philadelphia’s Exponent

 Shanni and David Prutchi featured in Philadelphia's Jewish Exponent

We were interviewed by the Jewish Exponent and featured in today’s edition.  Check it out at: http://www.jewishexponent.com/article/26460/FatherDaughter_CoAuthors/

A scan of the printed edition is at: Exponent002

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

A Number of Perkin Elmer SPCM AQRH 12 on eBay (No Connection to Seller)

My ongoing eBay search found a  number of Perkin Elmer SPCM AQRH-12 units.  Two are listed for $499 (buy-it-now) as working, one for $199 as “parts/repair.”  I have no connection to seller.

eBay auctions: 230835435238, 230835438679, and 320959423052 (parts/repair).

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

At Least a Billion Femto Angstroms


 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
No Comments  comments 
formats

Tabletop Electron Accelerator Demonstrator at Trocadéro’s Gardens in Paris, France

Mini Electron Accelerator at Trocadero's Gardens in Paris. David Prutchi PhD, www.diyPhysics.com

Harvey Summers called my attention to a miniature electron accelerator that was built for an exhibit at the Trocadéro’s Gardens in Paris, France.  The device is an exhibit that was shown to the public for the first time during the CNRS exhibition “Entrée en matière” in November 2011.

Read more…

 
 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Reddit Share on LinkedIn
3 Comments  comments