Ali Hanks
RadWatch & DoseNet: building scientific literacy through a network of radiation and environmental sensors
The 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident serves as an example of the risks associated with energy technologies and the need to minimize physical as well as psychological effects on local and global communities. We have established the Institute for Resilient Communities in Berkeley, CA in collaboration with global partners to address the needs for better scientific and technological capabilities to assess, predict, and minimize the impact of disruptive events in the future and to enhance the public understanding of associated risks. As part of this effort, the RadWatch program works to provide transparent, relevant measurements of radioactivity in our environment through measurements of locally sourced fish and produce. The ongoing monitoring of radiation in our environment provides the public with a clear baseline for what is "normal" More recently, this work has been expanded to include the use of neutron activation analyses to determine the concentrations of heavy metals in such samples, further contextualizing previous radiological measurements and our environmental impact. As RadWatch expanded to include a greater wealth of publicly relevant radiation data, the DoseNet project was developed. DoseNet is a network of radiation and environmental sensors connecting schools in the Bay Area, Japan, and around the world. It is the most recent step in our multidisciplinary undertaking to educate the next generation about radiation science, improve scientific literacy, and improve our communication of technical concepts to our communities.