Here's a really neat, classic experiment that's always fun to see. When you place uranium inside a cloud chamber, you can see it decay and emit bits of radiation. It's like seeing little alpha particle torpedoes shooting out in every direction, leaving a trail behind.
Radon gas is a hazardous thing to have around the house. It hangs around a short time before shooting out alpha particles. With a cloud chamber, scientists show us exactly what that decay process looks like, and it's stunning.
Particles are zipping past you all the time, and you don't even notice it happen. Here's how to quickly build a cloud chamber so you can detect these particles in your own home!
One of the first ways physicists ever "saw" charged particles was using a cloud chamber. It was a chamber full of gas so close to condensing into liquid that the movement of charged particles through it caused the liquid to condense and trace the trail of the particles. Pretty fancy, huh? You can make one with party…