A Hodoscope is an instrument used to determine the trajectory of charged particles. It’s built out of a three-dimensional matrix of particle detectors – either PIN diodes or Geiger tubes – arranged in such a way that particles can be traced along coincident detectors, revealing their trajectory.
This is not a hodoscope. It’s a chandelier. This chandelier is made of 92 individual Geiger tubes, each connected to a single LED fixture and a speaker. When a charged particle flies through the room and hits a Geiger tube, the light fixture lights up, a ‘click’ plays on the speaker, and the entire room is enveloped in light for a short moment in time. If, however, that charged particle continues on to another Geiger tube, the trajectory of the particle can be deduced.
The purpose of the installation – beside just being art or something – is to show the viewer sources of radiation and normal levels of radioactivity due to terrestrial and cosmic sources. Of course the spacing of these detectors is rather large – it’s made to fit in a gallery – and there is no connection between the detectors, making a coincident circuit impossible. If you want a real hodoscope, here you go.
This installation can be seen at the Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, NY through April 12. If you’re in the area, go there and eat a banana. Video below. Thanks [David] for the tip.
31 thoughts on “Artist Inadvertently Builds Hodoscope”
Wow this is awesome!
Awesome build but I think that the audience will look for radiation and wind up with seizures – pretty intense.
Awesome indeed – I also felt like I acquired Epilepsy while watching the video.
I will bet that many gallery attendees will refuse to enter that room because of the radiation that’s obviously present there.
That’s OK, we can just sell those people a can of lion repellant.
Or just charge them a small fee to see the Egress.
Lovely. Cloud Chambers are fascinating to watch as well. That, along with this chandellier, in a museum would be an interesting combination.
Is this realtime? It seem to be a lot of radiation! I woudn’t have thought there was so much of it.
And you’ve got the point of the exhibit!
The average human body generates more than 5000 radioactive events per second from the naturally occurring potassium-40.
Eat a banana for an extra boost.
Indeed. A single banana adds another 15 events/second.
A traditional geiger counter can show about 3CPM from ambient radiation. This varies for lots of reasons, but 3CPM is not unusual. (It’s higher in NH than Nebraska, it’s higher with higher altitudes, it’s higher during solar storms, &c.)
There’s also some variation with the tube voltage. It’s possible to crank up the voltage and detect more (lower energy) events, but too much and you risk burning out the tube.
If you have 30 tubes at 3CPM that’s about 900 CPM, which is roughly what the chandelier is showing.
Yea I thought it seemed quite “hot” too, maybe somebody is smuggling plutonium in their pants. (Or judging from later posts their “banana hammock.”)
I’d have half a mind of trying to secure me some radioactive isotope and a box with a small opening so I could make parts of the chandelier light up when I aimed it at it.
Why a banana? For reference?
Because naturally occurring potassium has a significant (but small) radioactive fraction. I think it’s a decay product of some common radioactive mineral…
Which is why doomsday preppers keep a stash of potassium iodide on hand.
Because banana induced radiation is a thing, though a bit tongue in cheek: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_equivalent_dose
Your average banana has ~0.1 micro sievert of radiation from potassium-40 decay. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banana_equivalent_dose
Guess I should reload before I comment.
https://xkcd.com/radiation/ 0.1 micro Sievert is the Banana equivalent dose or BED.
What’s the sensitivity? Sure, it appears to be a lot to some people, but if they’re set to a low threshold they’ll pick up everything…
When someone tries to take science and make it into art, things get really screwy. Some of these new age artists are frankly smoking crack. If anything, it was annoying to watch. This could have been done far more elegantly. How about fading the tube after a strike. This thing, whatever you want to call it, is just going to generate some good seizures in epileptics. I’m not going to discredit the idea. The ‘artist’ clearly has a vision of a weird radiation activated chandelier, but man it needs better refinement. If you are going to drop the cash on all those Geiger tubes and driving circuits, at least make it worth watching. The fact this made it into an exhibit just shows how strange people are getting.
If you go to an art galery with painting, you would not spent 1 hour before each painting. Same here, you look at it for a few seconds and say OK I got it.
That’s still a few seconds too many to spend on looking at this….
Very neat exhibit. Watched it muted while listening to Mastodon and it almost matched the beat.
So listening to Mastodon exposes a person to increased radioactivity? B^)
Artist Inadvertently Builds [Non Functional] Hodoscope. Still pretty neat. Watch it muted while listening to Mastodon.
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