Quick solution to that. Don't take "sociology of religion". I'm willing to bet your physics, maths and engineering professors don't dick around like that.
This seems fairly obvious. Younger faculty relate better to young students. But such a caveat doesn't fit well with a sensationalist press release/headline.
Its a pretty shitty aspect of western culture (don't know if other cultures experience it or not) that there is mass resentment of other people having any kind of job security. There is the notion that "other people" are all feckless, lazy slobs who must be whipped to work harder by constantly being threatened with redundancy and poverty.
The worse the economy gets, the stronger this feeling. Whip the Others harder, get the economy going. Leave me and people I know alone - we are hardworking families - kick those Others into working longer hours for lower wages; the fuckers are getting off too lightly. Problem is, this is just a feeling. Actual research into motivation finds that an environment of fear, or even promise of big rewards, does not generate productivity in anything other than menial tasks. Unsurprisingly, most people work better if they aren't constantly stressed.
Poor old NASA is doing the best they can with the SLS. They are suffering the consequences of the worst government pettiness I've seen outside Prime Minister's Questions, whilst at the same time being expected to produce the most powerful rocket ever to perform groundbreaking manned exploration of the solar system.
Yes, the SLS is never going to open up the whole solar system - but you get what you pay for, and if you want leadership in space it costs money. You might even have to (gasp) get multi-millionaires to pay a little more tax!
The coils turn on by reacting to the presence of the bolt. If the gun is constructed well enough, why can't a simple dumb timer be enough? Sensors seem overcomplicated
The ammunition looks fair large and heavy. Why not try using a smaller nail and getting higher muzzle velocities?
I've not done space radiation beyond undergraduate level, but from what I recall GCR energies overlap with the proton energy in the LHC. How is RAL supposed to provide do a tech demo then? Are they maybe approaching NASA at the point when their accelerator can't throw anything else at the test unit, and saying "help us put something in space so we can start working with real life space radiation"?