For their student design project, Zachary Paul, astronomy and astrophysics, and Devon Madden, aerospace engineering, developed an in-flight detector tool to minimize the amount of shielding—and weight—needed to plug aircraft radiation intrusion.
The detector can pinpoint radiation leakage into the plane when it reaches high altitude (15km) all the way to spaceflight altitude, so that the appropriate amount of shielding can be added to only the places it’s needed to stop leaks and protect the personnel and equipment onboard.
“Due to the detector being able to pinpoint exactly where radiation comes into the craft, you would only need to put the required amount of shielding in each location—making it more cost-effective as opposed to just one heavy, uniform piece,” Zachary Paul says.
As his work on this project suggests, Paul’s interests go beyond astronomy and astrophysics.
“As an astro student, I don’t get to take classes on subatomic particles unless I choose to take it as an elective, so this was the best way I could learn about subatomic particles with the schedule that I had,” Paul says.