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If it was obtained as an encapsulated source no problems. Lots of things, diy cloud chambers, spark gap, scintillation detectors but naturally all would be designed so that the α could actually pass the detector's container etc. A little neutron generator or source for a diy accelerator too. If not encapsulated (and that isn't easy to obtain) glove box for the same reason as slicing fissionables. Hey particle emitters are a lot safer than microbiology or often undergrad chem research and I've done all of it (physics weight in nuclear and accelerator operator). You can detect radioactive material, pathogens you can't and I had some serious close calls with high energy inorganic chem! :)
Your description was brilliant! I'm still laughing! Will share. I've been fascinated by this kind of thing since I was little (proto-über-geek) in science fiction e.g. ultrasonic blades, plasma, exploding wire. I'll probably try to come up with one so I can do some selfie brain surgery, remove 3/4ths of my neocortex so I can believe everything on TV and have tons of friends! :P
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