Ethan’s Adventures with Neutron Radiation


It’s not often youth get an opportunity to participate in scientific research that is, quite literally, out of this world. It’s an opportunity 14-year-old Ethan Tassiuk of Arviat, Nunavut is really looking forward to.

Ethan is in grade nine at John Arnalukjuak High School here in Arviat. He’s a bright kid, and I’ve been working with him for a while now since he came into the office looking for projects he could be part of. For those who don’t know him, he recently joined our Arviat Film Society Meetings and has been incredibly keen to join some of the projects and activities we have on the go.

This year he’ll be joining students from schools across Canada to participate in the RADI-N2 and You Action Project, an exciting citizen science project that will see youth measuring and comparing neutron radiation levels in participation with Commander Chris Hadfield aboard the International Space Station this month.

“I really enjoy learning about science and space,” he said. “I’m really interested in studying science when I graduate from high school,” he said. “It’s a cool way to learn about research, especially research that is taking place in space.”

This exciting CurioCity program is provided by Let’s Talk Science.

CurioCity, in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency, developed the RaDI-N2 & You Action Project to engage Canadian classrooms with hands-on opportunity to learn about science and space. They partnered with Bubble Technology Industries, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, MDA and 3M to purchase and supply personal neutron radiation detectors to participating classrooms across Canada.

During Commander Hadfield’s mission to the International Space Station (ISS), he will conduct research to track his neutron radiation exposure on board the ISS. In order to do this, he will measure neutron radiation using a special personal neutron detector. At the same time on Earth, classrooms will also measure their neutron radiation exposure through CurioCity’s RaDI-N2 & You Action Project and upload their results to CurioCity.

After uploading the data, students will compare their results to astronaut Hadfield’s research, Jazz pilots, and other classrooms across the country. With this project, students will learn about the hazards of radiation in space and how that radiation affects us on Earth.

A huge thanks as well to Darrell Greer at Kivalliq News for covering our after-school adventures with neutron radiation. Ethan made it on the front page of the paper!

What a cool project!