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Chernobyl’s Lesser Known Design Flaw: The Chernobyl Liquidator Medal—An Educational Essay

Department of Natural & Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin–Green Bay, Green Bay, WI 54311, USA
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J 2019, 2(3), 340-351; https://doi.org/10.3390/j2030023
Received: 26 June 2019 / Revised: 6 August 2019 / Accepted: 7 August 2019 / Published: 9 August 2019
The honorary Chernobyl Liquidator Medal depicts pathways of alpha, gamma, and beta rays over a drop of blood, signifying the human health impacts of the Chernobyl accident. A relativistic analysis of the trajectories depicted on the Chernobyl Liquidator Medal is conducted assuming static uniform magnetic and electric fields. The parametric trajectories are determined using the energies of alpha (α) and beta (β) particles relevant to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident and compared with the trajectories depicted on the liquidator medal. For minimum alpha particle velocity of 0.0512c, the beta particle trajectory depicted on the medal is highly unlikely to have come from a naturally occurring nuclear decay process. The parametric equations are used to determine the necessary beta energies to reproduce the depicted trajectories. This article documents the unfortunate misrepresentation of a famous scientific experiment on an honorary medal and illustrates the importance of better communication between artists and scientists. View Full-Text
Keywords: Chernobyl; liquidator; medal; radiation; trajectories; physics; design Chernobyl; liquidator; medal; radiation; trajectories; physics; design
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McIntire, M.; Luczaj, J. Chernobyl’s Lesser Known Design Flaw: The Chernobyl Liquidator Medal—An Educational Essay. J 2019, 2, 340-351.

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