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Homework Help: Why do I get a higher radiation intensity with slight shielding than with none?

  1. May 2, 2012 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I did a radiation lab a few weeks back. The task was basically to map out radiation intensity as a function of shielding thickness. A Cs137 gamma ray source was used, and lead was used as the shielding material. Data was taken meticulously and over long periods of time so as to minimize error.

    However, using a GM tube, we detected more events using about 2mm of lead shielding than we did with no shielding at all. The lab manual hinted that we may see some surprising result like that. What's going on??

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Are the gamma rays ejecting electrons from the lead, which interact more strongly with the GM tube? Is the lead somehow scattering the gamma rays toward the tube? That doesn't seem to make sense.
  2. jcsd
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