Skip to main content
Select Source:

Geiger counter

Geiger counter or Geiger-Müller (G-M) counter (gī´gər-mŭl´ər, –myōō´lər), instrument for the detection and quantitative determination of ionizing radiation such as the alpha and beta rays given off by radioactive minerals and cosmic rays. It was first developed by Hans (J. W.) Geiger and later improved by Geiger and A. Müller. Variously designed for different uses, it consists commonly of a gas-filled metal cylinder that acts as one electrode, and a needle or thin taut wire along the axis of the cylinder that acts as the other electrode. Glass caps used to seal the ends of the tube serve as insulators. A voltage applied to the device is so adjusted that it is almost strong enough to cause a current to pass through the gas from one electrode to the other. The gas becomes ionized whenever the counter is brought near radioactive substances, however little the quantity and however faint the emanations. The resulting ionized particles of gas are able to carry the current from one electrode to the other, thus completing a circuit. Once established, the current is amplified by an electronic device so that it can indicate by an audible click the presence of ionized particles. The gas quickly returns to its normal nonionized state, permitting each new particle or ray to register, making counting possible. The instrument can also register ionization by a pointer and scale called a rate meter. The Geiger counter is used in the detection of cosmic rays and for locating radioactive minerals. Counters enable radioactive tracers to be followed as they make their way through complex organisms such as the human body; in medicine Geiger counters have found several successful uses in the location of malignancies. They are used also to follow radioactive isotopes in chemical reactions. For a number of research applications the Geiger counter has been largely replaced by scintillometers and other more complex devices.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Geiger counter." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Geiger counter." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/geiger-counter

"Geiger counter." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/geiger-counter

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Geiger counter

Geiger counter (Geiger-Müller counter) Instrument used to detect and measure the strength of radiation by counting the number of ionized particles produced. It is named after the German physicist Hans Geiger who developed the modern particle counter with Walther Müller at Kiel University.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Geiger counter." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Geiger counter." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/geiger-counter

"Geiger counter." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/geiger-counter

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Geiger counter

Gei·ger count·er (also Gei·ger-Mül·ler count·er / ˈmələr; ˈmyoōlər/ ) • n. a device for measuring radioactivity by detecting and counting ionizing particles.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Geiger counter." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Geiger counter." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/geiger-counter

"Geiger counter." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/geiger-counter

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Geiger counter

Geiger counter (gy-ger kownt-er) n. a device for detecting and measuring the level of radioactivity of a substance. [ H. Geiger (1882–1945), German physicist]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Geiger counter." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Geiger counter." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/geiger-counter

"Geiger counter." A Dictionary of Nursing. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/caregiving/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/geiger-counter

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Geiger counter

Geiger counter See GEIGER—MÜLLER COUNTER.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Geiger counter." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Geiger counter." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/geiger-counter

"Geiger counter." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/geiger-counter

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Geiger counter

Geiger counter See Geiger–Müller counter.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Geiger counter." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. 16 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Geiger counter." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 16, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/geiger-counter-0

"Geiger counter." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Retrieved November 16, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/geiger-counter-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.