On Tuesday the 24th of October 2017 our class, the 6B, went to visit the Institute of Atomic and Subatomic Physics in Vienna. We were shown around, our guide explained about their work there and told us about the properties of the different nuclear radiations and in what ways they can be used. We also used a device to measure the radiation of objects and could see for ourselves, what we had learned and heard of before, e.g. how short ranged alpha-rays are.
Then we could experiment with liquid nitrogen: experience the strange feeling when it was flowing over our hands, which stayed completely dry although it felt like they did not. And we were amazed by how effortlessly we could move a superconductor, that was cooled down to that state by the liquid nitrogen, in a magnetic field.
At the end, we got to see the nuclear reactor, that the Institute of Atomic and Subatomic Physics runs for research purposes. We could even go on top of it and look down at its core underneath the column of water, that stopped the radiation, and even more importantly the neutrons set free by the reactions, from hitting us. While we were up there, they increased the amount of nuclear reactions in the reactor, which was only possible for the fraction of a second, producing a flash in the core, that continued glowing in a bluish light for a few more minutes.
Overall, it was a great experience and a very interesting afternoon for our class.
Valerie Stockhammer, 6B