IsoSiM Students Support TRIUMF's September Community Outreach Events

Jessie Fu and Andrew Robertson, IsoSiM MA students in Medical Physics, UBC and TRIUMF

TRIUMF Science Ambassadors were out in September sharing their knowledge and excitement about science with the community. IsoSiM students Andrew Robertson and Jessie Fu were there to help people get familiar with TRIUMF and learn more about physics. 

The 5th annual Wesbrook Community Festival on September 12 and 19 was a two-day event for students, kids, residents and visitors in the neighbourhood of TRIUMF that was full of fun. The festival included a free BBQ, live music, a rock climbing wall, a kid’s play zone, and various vendors. These vendors included local businesses such as Royal Bank, and academic booths. Despite the early morning Saturday rain, many were out and eager to learn about Canada’s national nuclear and particle physics lab which, surprisingly, is right next door!

Isotopes for Science and Medicine | IsoSiM | TRIUMF | UBC

TRIUMF’s booth had various fun activities for both kids and adults, including a magnetic field box, an electromagnetic induction current demonstration, a radioactivity demonstration and colouring books. While kids were attracted by some fun experiments with various magnets, adults were interested in different radioactive materials commonly found in households. Using a dosimeter, people were able to detect radioactivity from a watch and a pot covered with Radium-226 paint, a smoke alarm containing Americium-241, and other radioactive sources.

“Many people don’t realize there is always radiation around us, and people are sometimes terrified when hearing the word radiation”, said Jessie Fu, IsoSiM Master's student in Medical Physics, “It is important to educate people about our natural background radiation and the applications of radioisotopes in different fields.”

Isotopes for Science and Medicine | IsoSiM | TRIUMF | UBC

Apart from physics demonstrations, people were also interested in learning more about TRIUMF itself and what it is like to have TRIUMF as a neighbour. Using TRIUMF tour cards and fridge magnets, volunteers at the booth were able to introduce weekly public tours. Many expressed their interest in the tours and would like their kids to learn more about physics.

“People are always surprised to find out TRIUMF is so close to them” said Andrew Robertson, IsoSiM Master's student. “I hope they come for a tour.”

Taking place on September 26 and 27, the Science World Community Science Celebration was a family event full of demonstrations, displays and activities from local science companies and groups. TRIUMF’s display featured recent developments in the medical isotope production field: Plug the Tc-99m development. Proton therapy and everyday sources of radiation were also featured in the display. IsoSiM students were there to help with setup and demonstration and to welcome people to learn more about TRIUMF.

Many were interested in TRIUMF’s solutions to the medical isotope crisis, while many children eagerly engaged with the hands-on demos and received Tc99m temporary tattoos. “There were an incredible amount of people there on Sunday, they even needed the VPD to come do crowd control at the door!” said Andrew Robertson.

With the help from volunteers, these outreach events brought together different community organizations to show the positive impact of science and technology on our society, and also encouraged young students to take an interest in science. They successfully brought the general public closer to TRIUMF and physics. 

Isotopes for Science and Medicine | IsoSiM | TRIUMF | UBC
Nic Zdunich