Morioka #1 High School students win special prize at CERN contest for radiation research

The original article was published in the Iwate Nippo (July 25th edition). Read the original here.

A team of third-years from Morioka #1 High School in Morioka City – team name “Moriokande” – were selected for a special prize at an international contest held by CERN in Switzerland. In order to correctly understand radiation, they used household objects to measure how each one lessened radioactive waves. They then put together their research in English. CERN is the model for the ILC that Iwate Prefecture is working to realize, and the researchers there praised the students, saying, “They will be a motivation for us in the future.”

On the team were Kanezawa Haruku, Nakamura Toshiki, and Sasaki Haato. The contest was for high school students, and the top two teams will be given a chance to conduct an experiment at CERN. This was the 7th time for the contest, and there were 198 teams from 47 countries from Europe and the USA. The special prize goes out to ten teams that didn’t make it to the final 23, and this is the first time a Japanese team has gotten the honor.

In their research, the students beamed a radiation wave (beta wave) into a box filled with fog. They placed plastic objects, playing cards, and other household items inside to measure how they would lessen the radiation. This was to further develop their research that they had presented at an Iwate Prefectural competition held in October of last year, in which they had won first prize.

They began preparing in January 2020 to write their materials in English as well as to create a video that explained their research. They applied to the competition in March. Kanezawa, who wants to become a researcher in the future, said, “It was difficult to create English materials and put everything together in a video, but our activities were praised.”

Nakamura, who wishes to study and research abroad, said, “I learned the importance of trial and error.” Sasaki smiled, “It was a good opportunity to get experience figuring out how to analyze data gotten through an experiment.”

CERN has not released their reasoning for their selections, but according to Professor Yamamoto Akira, professor emeritus of KEK who works at CERN as a cooperating researcher, “They visualized the radioactive waves and observed them with objects they created, as well as took on the research themselves, which was why they were praised.”