The University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering

Weeks 1 and 2, Health Physics

Students in labThe first two week module, Health Physics: Theoretical Aspects and Applications and Health Physics Instrumentation Laboratory, is taught with the supposition that the undergraduate students have little background in this area.

The two week course in health physics is divided into two distinct fractions. The morning session will incorporate 3 fifty minute lectures on the basics of health physics. There will be a total of four lecture days each week with a grand total of 24 lectures. At the end of each week there will be a short exam.

Theoretical Aspects and Applications

The Health Physics Instrumentation Module will offer half-day lectures where students learn the fundamentals of nuclear physics, counting, detector operations and shielding. The lectures will include practical hands-on demonstrations of a variety of portable and laboratory radiation instruments; the morning lecture component of the module provides the theoretical basis for the afternoon experiments. At the end of each week there is a short exam.

Health Physics Instrumentation Laboratory

The Nuclear Engineering Teaching Lab has all new state-of-the-art HP equipment. The students are broken up into groups of 3 per station. If needed the laboratory time can be extended into the evening. Each student will be required to write 3 complete lab reports and only do the data analysis for the other labs. Half of each day will be devoted to practical hands-on exercises, which will cover instrument calibration and collection of survey and dosimetry measurements.

The module will cover the topics shown below.

Health Physics Summer Course Schedule (2 Weeks)


Morning: 9 – 11:30 AM

Afternoon: 1 – 4:30 PM

Week 1

Lectures and Demonstrations



Radiation Counting Statistics; Review of Nuclear and Atomic Physics

Laboratory Tour


Radioactive Decay, Photon, Neutron, and Charged Particle Interactions.

Operation of a Geiger-Müller (G-M) Counter


Source to Receptor Geometries; Gas Filled Detectors.


Determination of Environmental And Fission Product Gamma-Ray Radiation Using a Hyperpure Germanium Counter


Ionization Chambers; Proportional Counters; Geiger-Müller (G-M) Counter.


Radiation Counting Statistics




Personnel Monitoring Devices and Radiation Survey Instruments

Week 2



Solid and Plastic Scintillators; High Purity Germanium Detectors; Semiconductors.


Gamma-Ray Spectrometry With A Sodium Iodide Detector


Personnel Monitoring with Radiation Survey Instruments.


Neutron Shielding



Neutron Shielding.


Gamma-Ray Shielding


Gamma-Ray Shielding; Reactor Health Physics.


Reactor Health Physics






The course will emphasize how to choose the best instruments for the student’s needs, depending on a few different occupations. Additional instruction will be given on how to set up and assure that instruments are working properly, how to properly use each instrument, and how to check each instrument for proper response. The course also provides instruction on how to interpret radiation measurements, quality assurance, and how to troubleshoot instruments.

Participants will receive an extensive Radiation Instruments Manual, a certificate of training, and a final written and practical hands-on exam.

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