National S&T Week Kicks Off With A Record Breaking Science Lesson

This year, to kick off National Science and Technology Week, Canada decided to do something special. By organizing a science experiment to be conducted simultaneously across over 135 locations nationwide, and involving well over 3,000 participants, we collectively submitted an attempt to the Guinness Book of World Records for the largest science experiment ever conducted! Final numbers of participants will be available in a few weeks to verify that the record was set.

National Science and Technology Week spans October 12 – 21, 2012, and the record-setting experiment took place at precisely 1:00pm EST on opening day. This special week raises awareness of the importance of science and technology in our daily lives, and celebrates Canada’s historic and ongoing role as a leader in technological innovation.

Here at the Canadian Nuclear Association, we are proud to celebrate this week. Canada is one of the world’s nuclear pioneers, and continues to find success with advancements of its historically innovative CANDU reactor technology. In addition to producing approximately 15% of national electricity supply, CANDU reactors are also used internationally in six other countries.

Canada is also a chief innovator in nuclear medicine technology, having given birth to the use of Cobalt-60 as a powerful isotope in radiation therapy, as well as producing between 20-30% of the world’s supply of medical isotopes used for treatment and diagnostic imaging in almost 60 countries.

The record-setting experiment was performed at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), one of Canada’s fastest-growing universities, by a group of 46 students all from the highly regarded Nuclear Engineering program. These students represent the bright, young generation upcoming in Canada’s vibrant nuclear industry, and their enthusiasm is what made this event possible. In fact, of all the venues involved in this nationwide experiment, almost all were educational facilities!

As we await the announcement on the success of the experiment, we continue to recognize the importance of investment in science and technology to drive our industries forward. Through continued investment in nuclear technology, Canada is empowered to stay on the cutting edge of nuclear innovation, and produce advances towards benefiting the health, safety, and livelihood of Canadians and people around the world.

About the Science Lesson

Across Canada, participants conducted experiments that explored the Bernoulli principle which states that as a constant volume of fluid (or air) increases in speed, it experiences a corresponding decrease in pressure. This is the principle responsible for how airplane wings work, as the curvature of the wing creates a pressure difference between the air above and below it, resulting in motion in the direction of lower pressure and less resistance – up.

In the case of the experiments, the principle was demonstrated by blowing through a straw in a glass of water and between two balloons.

 UOIT’s Nuclear Engineering Training Ground

The UOIT Radiation Detection Laboratory is home to several specialized detectors for teaching students how to measure different types of radiation.

Graduate students travel from around the world to practice and be tested on UOIT’s brand new CANDU reactor simulator.

This general purpose laboratory features impressive and powerful equipment, such as the X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer pictured on the left-side desk.