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Educational and Amateur Geiger Counter Experiments

50+ Activities for Beginners and Beyond

  • Book
  • © 2024


  • Provides a Geiger Counter experiment list
  • Introduces fundamental principles of radiation, interaction, and detectors
  • Explores how Geiger counters can be utilized in educational and amateur settings

Part of the book series: UNITEXT for Physics (UNITEXTPH)

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About this book

This book offers a comprehensive collection of introductory experiments in nuclear and cosmic ray physics utilizing Geiger counters. It features over 50 experiments with brief explanations of the physics involved, guidance on setting up educational and amateur experiments, and showcases actual results. The experiments cover the fundamentals of Geiger counters for detecting alpha, beta, gamma, and cosmic radiation, assessing detector performance, monitoring radiation in various environments and sources, conducting coincidence experiments, and applying counting statistics and analysis algorithms. Additionally, introductory chapters delve into radiation principles, interactions with matter, and the history of particle detectors, particularly Geiger counters. With the widespread availability of modern, affordable Geiger detectors and DIY devices, many experiments are suitable for high school and university students, aligning with modern physics curricula. The author has conducted some of these experiments himself over the past 20 years with third-year physics students. The book is also addressed to amateur scientists and a broad audience interested in exploring radiation phenomena. It features around 250 original illustrations and references to historical experiments and contemporary findings.


Table of contents (63 chapters)

  1. The Radiation and How to Measure It

  2. Experiments and Activities with Geiger Counters

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of Physics and Astronomy "E.Majorana", University of Catania, Catania, Italy

    Francesco Riggi

About the author

Francesco Riggi has been a full professor of Experimental Nuclear and Particle Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Catania, Italy. He has been working in nuclear physics at low and high energy since 1974 and joined, at its inception, the ALICE Collaboration, a large experiment at the CERN Large Hadron Collider to study nuclear matter under extreme conditions. Within the ALICE Collaboration, he has contributed to the construction of the electromagnetic calorimeter and the silicon pixel detector, investigating the production of multistrange particles, short-lived resonances, and light (anti)nuclei. He has also been active in studying the physics of cosmic rays over the last 20 years, leading several projects concerning the use of cosmic muons in tomographic applications, and has served as a member of the educational project EEE, operating a wide network of cosmic ray telescopes. He is the author or the co-author of more than 600 scientific papers in all such areas and has contributed to various international conferences, as well as acting as a referee for various journals of nuclear and applied physics. As a professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy in Catania, he has taught several courses in general and nuclear physics for 40 years. He is also the co-author of a textbook on experimental physics and author of the recent book "Messengers from the Cosmos. An Introduction to Cosmic Ray Physics in Its Historical Evolution", Springer, 2023. As a part of the teaching activity in Physics, he has published many papers on educational experiments and has contributed to different outreach activities, including the organization of exhibitions and public events, collaborations with scientific museums, and writing for various newspapers and information blogs.

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: Educational and Amateur Geiger Counter Experiments

  • Book Subtitle: 50+ Activities for Beginners and Beyond

  • Authors: Francesco Riggi

  • Series Title: UNITEXT for Physics

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Springer Cham

  • eBook Packages: Physics and Astronomy, Physics and Astronomy (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2024

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-031-56959-3Published: 25 April 2024

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-031-56962-3Due: 26 May 2024

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-031-56960-9Published: 24 April 2024

  • Series ISSN: 2198-7882

  • Series E-ISSN: 2198-7890

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XV, 425

  • Number of Illustrations: 19 b/w illustrations, 263 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Biological and Medical Physics, Biophysics, Applied and Technical Physics, Particle and Nuclear Physics

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