Soulskill from the hope-it-has-sound-effects dept.
RedEaredSlider writes "In science fiction, explorers wave around a single device and pick up many kinds of radiation — think of the tricorders on Star Trek or Dr. Who's sonic screwdriver. A professor at Oregon State University is bringing that a bit closer to reality, though in this case it's for finding radioactive material. It's a radiation spectrometer, and it works on a very old principle: particles and photons that hit certain materials will make them emit flashes of light. But for decades, radiation spectrometers had been limited to detecting only one kind of radiation at a time. David Hamby, an OSU professor of health physics, felt that there was a need for a device that could see at least two kinds of radiation, as well as be smaller than the models currently available."
The reason that every major university maintains a department of
mathematics is that it's cheaper than institutionalizing all those people.