Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox.   SUBSCRIBE
The Kid Should See This

How To Make A Radioactive Particle Detector

Watch more with these video collections:

Make a radioactive particle detector with things from around the house… and a few harder to get extras. In this Mission Unstoppable clip with host Amanda Cosgrove, nuclear engineer Dr. Ciara Sivels demonstrates how to make this particle detecting cloud chamber.

Her equipment: A clear container, felt, 90+% isopropyl alcohol, some gum or modeling clay to seal the container, aluminum trays, and two specialty items: dry ice and thoriated welding rods.

setting up the chamber
Dr. Sivels and Fig O'Reilly
Watch as Dr. Sivels assembles the particle detector with correspondent Fionnghuala “Fig” O’Reilly. Sivels also explains how to identify the difference between alpha and beta particles in your DIY chamber.

cloud chamber
up close with the particles
Find some background and DIY support from the Build A Cloud Chamber instructions by the team at Science Friday:

“All around you, and on every surface of the earth, there is radiation pummeling the atoms that make up the matter that we can see and feel. Even as you read this sentence, you are being bombarded by radiation. Pew! Pew!

“But fear not, it’s completely normal. This background radiation is safe. And though it cannot be seen directly, you can build a cloud chamber to help you indirectly observe radiation and begin to understand it.”

Their site also includes a field guide for identifying different path types caused by the different types of radiation.

particle detector

• Build a Cloud Chamber with Science Friday
• How to Build the World’s Simplest Particle Detector with Scientific American

Watch these related videos on TKSST next:
• DIY Cloud Chamber – How to build your own particle detector
• Adiabatic expansion and how to make a cloud in a bottle
• How to make a cloud in your mouth
• How to grow snowflakes in a bottle
• What is a comet made of? Dara Ó Briain’s Science Club demonstrates
• Icy Bodies by Shawn Lani, a dry ice exhibit that mixes science with art

This Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

What is a comet made of? Dara Ó Briain’s Science Club demonstrates

Rion Nakaya

Ten cloud names with photo examples

Rion Nakaya

Make your own Fabric of the Cosmos kit and teaching demo

Rion Nakaya

LIGO & The First Observation of Gravitational Waves

Rion Nakaya

Kari Byron makes a cloud in a bottle

Rion Nakaya

In search of water on Mars – Seasonal dark streaks on the Red Planet

Rion Nakaya

Icy Bodies by Shawn Lani, a dry ice exhibit that mixes science with art

Rion Nakaya

How to: Brusspup’s Giant Bubbles + Dry Ice Experiment

Rion Nakaya

How to Make a Cloud in Your Mouth with Physics Girl

Rion Nakaya