Nuclear detectives gather in the UK

The colour and texture variations in these vials of ammonium diuranate are due to differing amounts of ammonium nitrate in the samples.
Photo courtesy Jacquelyn Dorhout, Los Almos National Laboratory

Mansie Iyer, Department of Physics PhD student and an expert in nuclear forensics, is part of a multidisciplinary team that responds to radioactive objects found in unexpected locations.

It’s tough. Known as an “interdiction,” nuclear forensic scientists must identify what it is, the origin and whether there is more.

It’s also complex. Color and texture variations can potentially reveal useful information as experts like Iyer find clues to help law enforcement determine who is responsible.

Iyer recently served as the keynote speaker at the NuFor conference in Bristol, UK sharing her experience and the challenging nature of the field.

This article first appeared on Physicsworld on July 16, 2019.