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Polygence Scholar2022
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Taya Martinez

John H. Guyer High SchoolClass of 2024Argyle, Texas


Hello, my name is Taya Martinez, and I am a high school student in North Texas. I am passionate about nuclear science, and I want to share my passion with others by breaking down the stigma of how we view crucial climate and energy crisis solutions like nuclear energy. My project is creating and sharing a blog and small research portfolio for accessible nuclear experiments and applications at home.


Project Portfolio

Nuclear Science Advocacy

Started Mar. 12, 2022

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Abstract or project description

My project is a blog and experiment portfolio that details digestible nuclear science information that helps break down its stigma. Nuclear science hold the solutions to many of the Earth's ecological and humanitarian problems, such as the energy crisis and medicine. However, developments for industries in nuclear science have been stunted by the negative stigma imposed on it. By demonstrating that nuclear science has not only a place in the world, but in common applications for practical or educational use, nuclear science can progress.

My first experiment documented is turning a condenser microphone into an alpha radiation detector, where the microphone is reassembled to form an ion chamber that reacts to alpha radiation particles. The particles manipulate the ions within the makeshift chamber that interact with the backplate of the microphone, which triggers the electrical mechanism within the microphone to turn input on the backplate into sound. Because alpha particles carry a charge, they can attract or repel loose ions, allowing this experiment to work. These alpha radiation particles are derived from a common household item: a smoke detector, using Americium with a radiation level of 200,000 CPM, or 1,140 uSv/hr. This experiment not only demonstrates the strength of the alpha particles in the Americium of a smoke detector, but gives insight into how radiation detection devices can function, and that it has common, safe household uses.