Identifying and Characterizing Contact Binary Star Systems Observed by the SMU ROTSE 1 System

U Penn QuarkNet Abstract

Hardware and electronics

D. Ells and N. Zavanelli worked on the assembly of the cosmic ray tower.  This included the testing of the proportional drift tubes, making sure that their connections were intact, that the capacitor connections and the ones to the Xilinx Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) were functioning as intended.  They worked on establishing the optimal voltage for two scintillator paddles, which were used to trigger the detector.  The above work involved learning how to solder at the millimeter level, reading the counter instruments, and using an oscilloscope to identify possible cosmic rays.  They had to make sure that connections, voltage levels to power sources were appropriately set, and that the high voltage sources for the drift tubes were safely connected and handled.  They managed to fix many of the problems with the drift tubes, so that two sets of 16 tubes were functioning so that the detector could track cosmic ray paths in two dimensions.

Software and programming

M. Macerato was responsible for programming the firmware of the Xilinx FPGA, which converted the electrical signals from the drift tubes and provided data for computer analysis.  In order to do this he had to learn Verilog, the programming system for the FPGA.  Since this differs substantially from programming languages like Java and C++, it was a daunting task even for a talented young programmer like him.  But through many frustrating trials, he managed to design a number of alternate versions of the program, each time he ran into obstacles in reading the drift tube signals.  In the final version of the program, he designed a counter driven scope-like acquisition of data, based on the FPGA inputs from all the drift tubes for a fixed number of 10 ns clock periods, and had the board send this information to the Raspberry Pi computer for analysis.

D. Grabovsky tackled the computer programming tasks.  This involved taking raw data from the FPGA, storing them, and, using a functional algorithm, translating the numbers into a set of cosmic ray tracks.  Since there were a number of iterations of the Verilog program for the FPGA, he had to rewrite his program for the Raspberry Pi each time.  He succeeded because of his thorough understanding of the Math and the programming requirements.

Overall experience

The students were disappointed that they did not have enough time to identify cosmic tracks and to analyze these, in spite of the clear signals obtained from the drift tubes, but they certainly left with a much clearer idea of how experiments work in a physics laboratory.  They had a thorough introduction into the complex and cumulative nature of cosmic ray detection and analysis.


University of Oregon Annual Report 2014

2014 Annual Report - Wayne State University

Wayne State University, 9th year in QuarkNet

Mentors: Profs. Robert Harr and Gil Paz

In 2014, the WSU QuarkNet center ran a summer research program, a teacher workshop, and began to build a relationship with the Detroit Metro Area Physics
Teachers (DMAPT).
The High School Student Summer Research Program ran over 6 weeks from June 23 to August 1, 2014. The program was organized as 3 sessions, each lasting for 2 weeks and with 4 students. This enables us to select 12 students from a wide range of backgrounds for the program. We had about 50 applicants for these 12 positions. The sessions were organized around projects with the cosmic ray detectors. About half the day was spent working with the CRDs and the other half of the day was spent learning the basics of particle physics, how to perform an analysis, and how to work with e-lab. Presentations by a number of Wayne State faculty introduced the students to research in general, and particle physics in particular.

At the end of the first week, the students presented a research proposal before the lead teacher, mentors, and other interested faculty. The teacher and faculty would probe the students’ plan, aiming to help them focus their work and improve their plans. The students had interesting ideas and the faculty enjoyed working with them on their ideas.
At the end of each 2-week session, the students gave a presentation of what they had learned and the results of their experiment. The lead teacher, mentors, and other faculty provided feedback on the presentation and the experimental results. The student presentations and other material from the sessions are on the e-lab under lead teacher Scott Brunner’s name.
On November 16, 2013, we made a presentation at the Detroit Metro Science Teacher’s Association meeting held at Woodhaven High School in Woodhaven, MI. We had a one hour session where we presented some background on particle physics, histogramming, and the cosmic ray detector. The session had about 20 attendees.
On February 15, 2014, we organized a teacher professional development session that introduced Detroit area high school teachers to the CMS e-lab. This event was originally planned for February 1, but winter weather lead us to cancel and reschedule. The workshop ran from 9am to 1pm and went well, though attendance was 5 teachers --- 9 were registered to attend. We got excellent feedback from the teachers, with suggestions of how to improve the session.
Harr and Paz have also been regular attendees at Detroit Metro Area Physics Teachers (DMAPT) meetings.
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Notre Dame QuarkNet Center 2014 Annual Report

The Notre Dame QuarkNet Center (NDQC) continued to hold weekly meetings in 2014. A highlight of this year’s meetings was Lead Teacher Patrick Mooney helping the group to learn MatLab at one meeting per month.

The group engaged in several outreach projects, including its annual participation in Science Alive! in South Bend and Science Spectacular in Elkhart. At each of these, QuarkNet teachers, staff, and students affiliated with the NDQC put together and presented hands-on exhibits to help introduce particle physics to everyone from small children to adults.

The University of Notre Dame gave an award to members of NDQC to travel to Chile for a collaborative workshop at Pontificia Universidad Catolica in Santiago, where Pat Mooney and Ken Cecire facilitated an ATLAS Data Workshop for teachers. This led to participation by those teachers and students they selected in International Masterclasses culminating in a videoconference with teachers and students at Notre Dame and Duke.

Notre Dame participated not only in an ATLAS masterclass, but also in a separate CMS masterclass, to which teachers Susan Sakimoto and Brian Dolezal brought students and had a videoconference with Fermilab. Students of teachers Dan Walsh and Aaron McNeely also participated in Exoplanet workshops which the two teachers had helped design and which were brought to their schools by QuarkNet staff, students, and faculty.

NDQC teacher Jeremy Wegner was one of the five sent from the US in summer 2014 to attend the three-week CERN High School Teachers program.

Summer research at Notre Dame’s QuarkNet Center was comprised of research in seven areas:  the CMS Upgrade, Astrophysics, Digital Visualization Theater, Project GRAND, Cosmic Ray Detectors, Biocomplexity and CMS Data.

CMS Upgrade continued research looking for a detector which can tolerate the high levels of radiation found near the beam line.  Our line of research began with the idea of imbedding an optical fiber in a quartz tube.  The quartz tube is rad hard so it will tolerate the environment for long periods of time.  We have now replaced the optical fiber with a liquid detector.  The advantage of using a liquid is that when it eventually is destroyed by the radiation it can be flushed out and replaced with new liquid.   We used a MatLab program to compare the light output in different samples.  We also used a spectrophotometer to compare samples of liquid detector irradiated at various levels.  Members of our team include Mark Vigneault, Mike McKenna and Barry Baumbaugh, all of whom are staff from Notre Dame QuarkNet, plus John Taylor and Brian Dolezal, high school teachers, and two high school students E. Beach and C. Whitaker.

The Astrophysics group studied the unusual eclipsing variable star EE Cephei. Using a CCD and colored filters at the Morrison Observatory, Jordan Hall of Science, and images of EE Cephei were obtained on four separate evenings. The CCD images were analyzed to obtain magnitudes in blue, infrared, visual, and red wavelengths. The magnitude measurements were submitted to the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) for inclusion in a public database. The astrophysics group also participated in asteroid research sponsored by the International Asteroid Search Collaboration (IASC). The students used software to analyze sixteen data sets of asteroid images. Each data set was used to determine the positions of known and potential asteroids, and reports for each data set were submitted to the IASC. The student members of the astrophysics group A. Lucker, K. Huitsing, and J. Purcell. The teacher members of the astrophysics group were Aaron McNeely, Dan Walsh, and Caroline Fletcher. 

The Digital Visualization Theater group wrote a new version of our hour-long theater show this summer, incorporating a new theme to the presentation (scale of the universe from our daily life down to the subatomic level). New models, scripting, and presentation text were created, edited, and organized into a performance, which we gave at the conclusion of the summer’s research period. Our student members this past summer were M. Allin and C. Ritenour, our teacher members were Ken Andert and Ed Fidler, and our QuarkNet staff member was Jeff Marchant.

Project GRAND is an array of 64 proportional wire chamber stations, located on the north edge of the Notre Dame campus.  Project GRAND provides insights into the origins of cosmic rays from extraterrestrial sources, and also permits a method of detecting solar events and the ways in which they interact with Earth.  The experiment was originally operated in support of graduate and undergraduate research programs under the direction of Dr. John Poirier, Professor Emeritus of Physics, and was constructed in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  Maintenance and upkeep of the detector array and its associated hardware and software is on ongoing task that is labor-intensive.  Numerous repairs and upgrades continue to increase the operability of the experiments and reduce the workload required to operate and maintain the experiment.  The project serves as a valuable outreach tool for high school students and teachers to study astrophysics. Teachers Cal Swartzendruber, Terry Barchfeld and Susan Sakimoto were assisted by two students, S. Burzynski and C. Gonzalez.

The Cosmic Ray Detector group evaluated all detectors at the NDQC.  This included making sure the voltages were at their optimum setting, checking connections and looking for light leaks.  We now have five complete sets for classroom use. The group also conducted an elevation study at Jordan Hall of Science to check for cosmic rate changes at different floors.  The last study we conducted was calculating the speed of a muon.  The teachers involved in this study were Jeff Chorny and Ben Mullins.  The two students involved were N. Lohr and M. Wheeler.

The Biocomplexity group developed a protein binding model for biochemistry, examined several different types of “random walks” (typically used in stochastic modeling), and revamped and redesigned the University of Notre Dame’s Interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Biocomplexity teacher website:  Computational Biomodeling. The student member of the group was B. Bahr and the teacher members of the biocomplexity group were Michael Sinclair and Helene Dauerty. 

The CMS Data Group analyzed 2000 dimuon events, 500,000 top candidate events and 500,000 simulated top background events during the summer of 2014. The dimuon events were analyzed with Matlab. The top events were analyzed with C++ and ROOT. The student members of the CMS Data Group were N. Bhagat, P. Evans and L. Swartzendruber. The teacher members of the CMS Data Group were Jill Ziegler, Daniela Gayoso and Patrick Mooney.

UND Cosmic Ray Detector Abstract

The CRD group evaluated all detectors at the QuarkNet Center.  This included making sure the voltages were at their optimum setting, checking connections and looking for light leaks.  We now have 5 complete sets for classroom use. The group also conducted an elevation study at Jordan Science Hall to check for Cosmic Rate changes at different floors.  The last study we conducted was calculating the speed of a muon.  The teachers involved in this study were Jeff Chorny and Ben Mullins.  The two students involved were N. Lohr and M. Wheeler.

2014 Annual Report - University of Minnesota

The QuarkNet workshop at the University of Minnesota this year (2014) on the week of Aug 11. As usual, the agenda and activities were organized by the lead teachers Shane Wood and Jon Anderson. Daniel Cronin-Hennessy served as QuarkNet mentor. This year Bob Peterson from Fermi National Accelerator lab provided 3 days of specialized training for the participants (described below). Finally Jody Kaplan , Minnesota HEP administrator organized rooms, lunches and paperwork. Twelve teachers were in the workshop this year.
There was a philosophical shift in our program this year. Typically we try to recruit new participants and expose them to an introductory level material on the standard model and modern particle detectors with an emphasis on demonstrations and concepts that can be utilized in their high school classrooms. This year the participants all had participated in previous workshops. The emphasis for this workshop was to increase the depth of knowledge in a specific area. Our focus was on the cosmic ray telescopes and the use of e-lab in representing data from these telescopes. Bob Peterson came for three days and gave in depth instruction. The goal was that the teachers would have sufficient knowledge to begin to establish a cosmic ray telescope at their own institution. 
The first day of the workshop focused on the logistics, overview of cosmic ray science, and overview of QuarkNet in the first half. In the second half the teachers were presented with the hardware components of the telescope and started to workout how to assemble a working unit (with help from Bob). After assembly they performed the plateauing procedure and recorded the particular geometry that was chosen. They also discussed possible measurements each team (each pair) would make over night. The next day they began their introduction to analysis with an overview of e-lab. By the end of the first half of the day they had learned to upload their data from the previous night and learned how to generate graphs in several different layouts. We spent about 1.5 hours discussing the results. The various dependencies the groups looked at included cosmic rates with pressure, temperature, angle and time. They had to deal with issues such as accounting for geometrical differences between the various telescopes used in their studies. We hypothesized several reasons for their observed behavior and discussed follow up experiments that could be used to discriminate various hypotheses. All in all this workshop provided an intense introduction to a complete cycle of experiment – from assembling the detectors to analyzing data and then interpreting the data. 
On Thursday the tone changed and we focused on the physics of neutrino oscillations. Dan Cronin-Hennessy gave a talk on the physics and Kanika Sachdev provided a nice introduction to the MINOS and NOvA neutrino experiments. The remainder of the day was spent using the mechanical harmonic oscillators in order to understand the mathematics and physics of neutrino oscillations. This attempt was experimental and the teachers judged it as a very effective way of 
communicating the physics of oscillations. So much so that we are considering an applet on the web to achieve the same goal. The motivation for this approach was from Ken Cecire. One high school teacher who uses coupled oscillations for other purposes in their class taught us a very slick method of controlling the coupling of the oscillators (this was one of their assignments that day). We hope to document this activity more thoroughly soon. The final day of the workshop was a visit to Soudan lab, which hosts the MINOS neutrino Oscillation experiment. 
In summary, this year we experimented with a very different type of QuarkNet workshop. I found the teachers highly engaged and enjoying each of the offerings that week. We will hopefully continue to refine and improve our workshops in the future.
Daniel Cronin-Hennessy
Associate Professor of Physics, University of Minnesota
Photo 1: QN Teachers exploring how to control coupling of oscillators. They measured the period for the normal modes to recycle the original “flavor” of oscillation as a function of the coupling.
Photo 2: QN Teachers visiting Soudan Lab.


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2014 Ole Miss Abstract II: Construction of a cosmic ray demonstration

We built an 8x8x8 LED cube powered by an arduino micro-controller. The cube was very challenging to build, soldering over 500 LEDs, and making repairs. The idea was to program cosmic ray or particle interaction type events for display purposes (maybe even muons stopping and decaying).  The circuit board which attached to the arduino was equally challenging.  It did not work for a week and then we debugs some circuit errors, mostly power connections.  The cube finally worked as described. The challenge now is to learn to program the arduino.   

2014 Ole Miss Abstract I: Belle II research

The Belle II detector has a quartz bar cherenkov particle id detector. The quartz bars must remain dry and dust free. We worked on a system for drying these bars from a LN2 source. The system had a flow controller and flow read-back electronics. A dew point monitor was installed to check the air.   

2014 WSU Abstract: Flux Study

How Muon Flux is Affected by Barometric Pressure and Temperature

Andie Anger and Oscar Mota
The purpose of this study was to conclude whether temperature and pressure have an effect on the fluctuation of muon flux. In order to test this, four muon detectors were set in a stacked formation and recorded data from Monday night at 5 p.m. to Friday morning at 9 a.m. The coincidence was set at two-fold. Upon analysis of the data, a graph for each channel was created with a 600 second bin width, and the data points were exported to an Excel Spreadsheet. The extreme flux counts were noted, and were then tested with a two sample t-test to determine significance. These were then compared with barometric pressure and temperature data that was tested by a two sample t-test. Since the fluctuations in muon count and pressure/temperature corresponded, it was concluded that temperature was a significant factor in muon flux count.