RAY - Radiation Around You

RAY is the Radiation Around You project, working with CERN and schools across the country to gather data on the presence and levels of background radiation across Britain. As of September 2016, the project leader of the research group is Jacob Warren, who is taking over as project leader from Sam Gooch.

UPDATE: Protocol

Getting Started

Eclipse Data Collection

Aims of the Project

The aim of RAY is to provide a unified model for the gathering and presentation of data about background radiation. To achieve this, we have several goals.


To collect our data, we use the MX-10 chip. This chip uses a CCD (see here) to act as a camera for radiation, in conjunction with Pixelman software, to produce radiation images from which we can identify the type, energy level, and frequency of incoming radiation.

Acquisition of Data

The data collection process must be collected in a uniform way in order for it to be meaningful; if there are errors or bias in the data, but it is collected in a documented and uniform way, then it will be possible to adjust for biases or at least draw some sort of secondary conclusions. There is an experimental guide on Figshare on about how to take standard background measurements here, written by Jon Beesley, Chris Cundy and Dr Whyntie. Preliminary investigations suggest these will be valid for data capture in the future.

Another consideration to make when acquiring data is what things we want to research. These could include:

  • The effect of space weather on ground-level background radiation. Professor Pinsky kindly offered to inform us about an alert service for unusual space weather events to monitor this.
  • Background radiation levels at specific sites, e.g. near or in nuclear power stations.
  • Student-led projects such as the eclipse project that took place on March 20, 2015.

Sharing of Data

We use TAPAS, an analysis software developed by Will Furnell for the purposes of Star Centre research projects. It can be found here

Data Collection

Solar Eclipse 2015

During the total solar eclipse of 2015, a number of schools around the country measured radiation levels. We collated all this data and Sam Gooch wrote it up and made conclusions for his EPQ. That document can be found here.


Other useful pages can be found in the following links

Information - Any extra information on the working of Pixelman, the Medipix chips, or any other areas relevant to RAY and CERN@school

Investigations - Investigations relevant to the CERN@school projects, both external research, and those carried out by member schools.

Software - Software used by and related to RAY


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