April 28th 2014 saw the 3rd annual SRP Schools Event, to which IRS were kindly invited to attend, visit the Southport Convention Centre with the aim of inspiring young people to study science at higher levels at school and university. We saw this as a great opportunity to give something back to the community by inspiring school children and giving them a taste of what we do here at IRS as a radiation protection company.
The exhibition comprised of 30 or so display stands with numerous ways of entertaining the children and getting them involved. Our stand had a number of activities for the kids and teachers to take part in:
- Measuring the count rate of two bowls of salt using our radiation monitor “RadEye” to determine which bowl contained Lo-Salt, a Potassium Chloride substitute for regular salt,
- Answering a “naturally occurring radiation” quiz, in which students (and teachers) were tasked with sorting 5 forms of naturally occurring radiation in terms of effective dose received from each,
- Attempting to pick up weights from the bottom of a bottle using our very own Cartesian Diver!
We even had a box (or two!) of chocolates to give away as prizes to those who tried any of our challenges/quizzes. Always a great way to get people involved that, free chocolate!
As well as the activities, we were able to demonstrate some of our test equipment and talk about what it is we do at IRS on a day to day basis. Teachers were able to talk to us about whether or not they require any RPA advice about things such as the keeping of sealed sources.
During the middle of the day, after lunch, there was a very entertaining and informative lecture given by several members of SRP called “Radiation… Don’t Panic!” IRS’s very own Paul Connolly was the lucky volunteer to be shot at several times by a pupil using a nerf toy gun! By varying the scenarios, Paul was able to demonstrate how distance shielding and time are important in reducing the risk when dealing with radioactive sources.
After a long, but fruitful day it was time to make the trip back to the office. Considering this my first time being involved in something like this I think it went extremely well. We definitely succeeded in giving the next generation a real look into what we do – and we had a lot of fun along the way!