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Others Like “Radioactive Dating: Take Your Programming Skills Nuclear”

Project Idea
thumbnail What do rocks and clocks have in common? Both keep track of time. Yes, radioactive isotopes present in rocks and other ancient material decay atom by atom at a steady rate, much as clocks tick time away. Geologists use those radioactive isotopes to date volcanic ash or granite formations like the giant Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Anthropologists, archeologists, and paleontologists also use radioactive isotopes to date mummies, pottery, and dinosaur fossils. Does this sound abstract… Read more
Geo_p044
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None.
Material Availability Readily available.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues.
Project Idea
thumbnail Electronic devices can be designed to detect dangerous fumes or other hazards, such as smoke or carbon monoxide. In this electronics project, you will build another potentially life-saving detector—a radon detector. Radon gas is radioactive and can pose a hazard to your health if you live in an area where it leaks from the ground. In this electronics science project, you will learn how to collect radon with an ordinary dusting cloth mounted on the intake of a fan, and then measure its… Read more
Elec_p064
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Since the goal of this science project is to measure radon gas, you should have access to an area that has previously tested positive for radon with a commercial radon detection system. See the Experimental Procedure section for details. This is an advanced science project that will require creative problem solving on your part.
Material Availability While most of the parts for this science project are readily available, you might need to be creative about finding or making some of the parts.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Wear safety goggles when drilling and soldering. Adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
thumbnail Are you fascinated by radioactivity and the emission of particles caused by the disintegration of an atom? This science project enables you to observe safely a spectacular display of radioactive decay. Following the instructions in the Procedure, you will be able to isolate a safe radioactive source and build a cloud chamber to watch the radioactive decay. Then you will use your cloud chamber to discover if a plastic lid can shield you from this type of radioactive decay particles. Read more
Phys_p086
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Basic understanding of, or willingness to study independently, the atomic model and what radiation is.
Material Availability Specialty items are required. See the Materials tab for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety

You will be working with radioactive material in this science project; it is completely safe as long as the simple safety instructions in the Procedure are followed.

This project uses isopropyl alcohol, a flammable product. Do not use it near an open flame or anything hot.

Dry ice is colder than regular ice and can damage your skin. Wear insulating gloves when handling it.

If you choose to take apart a smoke detector, be very careful when cutting through metal or plastic. Cut edges might be sharp. Adult help and supervision is required. Minor injury is possible.

Project Idea
thumbnail In our , we provided you with a template file that included default material properties and physics simulation settings. These settings include friction, gravity, and temperature — all of which can drastically change how fast your robots move. However, we did not explain what exactly all these physics simulation settings meant, or how to change them. You can access the physics settings through the Physics Settings tab after entering the Physics Sandbox mode, as shown in Figure 1 below: … Read more
Robotics_p019
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Familiarity with VoxCAD software. We recommend completing our [# ProjectIdea Name="Robotics_p016" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="introductory VoxCAD project" #] first.
Material Availability This project requires the free VoxCAD software and a computer running Microsoft® Windows®.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail In our , you were challenged to use the VoxCAD software to design the fastest possible robot using different materials. However, we did not ask you to think about one big thing — efficiency. It is great to design a robot that is very fast, but what if it also consumes a lot of energy? Engineers must consider this when designing robots in the real world — robots that use more energy to move will drain their batteries faster, which can be a problem. This is similar to the concept of… Read more
Robotics_p017
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Familiarity with VoxCAD software — we recommend completing our [# ProjectIdea Name="Robotics_p016" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="introductory VoxCAD project" #] first. Basic knowledge of the concepts of energy consumption and power, or a willingness to learn them.
Material Availability This project requires the free VoxCAD software and a computer running Microsoft® Windows®.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Are you good at remembering addresses and phone numbers? How many numbers do you think you can remember? Try this experiment to test your digit span, the maximum number of digits that you can remember. Read more
HumBeh_p020
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever had several different design ideas for a project and not known which one to try first? Engineers use computer models of real-world objects called simulations to help them make decisions before they start building prototypes. This helps them save time and money, so they do not have to physically build and test each design they come up with. In this project, you will use a free physics simulation program called VoxCAD. VoxCAD has been used for research at NASA, MIT, and other… Read more
Robotics_p016
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail We use passwords every day for our email and other computer accounts. How secure is the password that you use? How hard would it be for someone to guess your password? How hard is it to write a computer program to guess a password? You can see for yourself by writing a simple password guesser in the computer language Python. We will get you started with some ideas, a little sample code, and a few passwords for your computer program to try and guess. Read more
CompSci_p046
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites To complete the programming portion of this science project, students should have access to a machine capable of running Python™ 3 (Microsoft Windows™, Apple Mac, Raspberry Pi®, or some other Linux computer), permission to install software, and a basic grasp of programming (or ready access to a willing helper who knows a little Python).
Material Availability Readily available. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Hacking into other people's password-protected accounts is a federally prosecutable offense. The program example given in this science project will only work in the context of this science project.
Project Idea
Is your computer fast? How quickly do you think it can do 100 million arithmetic problems? Do you think it could beat your friend's computer or another one at school? Try this science project to discover an easy way to measure whether or not your computer is a math whiz. Read more
CompSci_p011
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Requires computer with Java-enabled web browser (Java Runtime Environment version 1.5 or later) and Internet access
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail If you have ever prepared a cup of coffee or tea with sugar, you have probably seen that the grains of sugar quickly dissolve and completely disappear in hot water. But sugar is not the only type of solid that can readily dissolve in a liquid. In fact, there are some types of rocks that can be dissolved by common liquids. It might be hard to imagine large, hard rocks being eaten away by some ordinary fluids, right? But it actually happens all the time! In this geology science project, you will… Read more
Geo_p047
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Small limestone rocks are needed to do this science project. See the Materials and Equipment list for details. Note: The listed time required to do this science project includes shipping time.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
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