Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

High School Students Test Remote Sensing Robots in Radiation Detection

Lawrence Heilbronn with several HITES12 students.

John D. Tickle Associate Professor Lawrence Heilbronn and several HITES12 students pose with a robot.

The Tickle College of Engineering hosted its annual HITES12 program, which brings high-achieving high school students interested in engineering to campus for a week of fun activities while learning about engineering programs and campus life. HITES12 stands for High School Introduction to Engineering Systems for Twelfth Graders, and the Nuclear Engineering Department (NE) has participated in the program since its inception.

Three high school seniors with a robot.Four rising high school seniors spent part of the week of July 7-12 working with NE faculty and staff members Lawrence HeilbronnScott Emert, and Matt Cook on a project to test the ability of remote sensing robots to determine whether or not a radioactive source is present in a given location.

Using a simple detection system in a blind test with hidden sources, the students did a great job in analyzing incoming data to quantify the false-positive and false-negative rates of the remote detection system. Using a more complicated detection system developed by Cook’s group, they were able to identify whether or not a source emitted neutrons in addition to gamma rays. At the end of the week, the students made a poster highlighting their research, which earned them first place in the poster competition. The department looks forward to seeing great things from them in the future.