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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 8 Issue 1 (2003) pp 37-40

Using Campus Radon Testing as a Freshman Colloquium

Daniel Solomon, Joseph Bopp, Linsey O’Donnell, Jelena Petrovic, Rebecca Snavely, and Edward P. Zovinka*

Department of Chemistry, Mathematics, & Physical Sciences, Saint Francis University, Loretto PA 15940-0600,
Received August 8, 2002. Accepted October 5, 2002

Published online: 15 January 2003

Abstract. The measurement of radon levels in campus buildings in freshmen colloquium classes actively involved students of all majors and provided a tool to teach how science is conducted. Radon levels were measured using the AirChek radon test kit with an activated charcoal collector. A systematic measurement of radon levels in campus buildings revealed that many campus buildings were radon free while one building had measured radon levels of up to 56.3 pCi L–1. The campus radon study forced the students to deal with risk analysis, data collection, data analysis, and controversial results. Because high radon levels were found in several campus buildings, the students publicly presented their data to convince campus authorities to take action.

Key Words:  Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; radiochemistry; radon; active learning

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

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Issue date: February 1, 2003

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