2014 Annual Report - The University of Iowa

Principal Investigator:

Dr. Yasar Onell


Peter G. Bruecken, Christopher Like and Moira Truesdell


William Fawcett, John Guhin, Lindsay Matthews, Nate Perk, Preston Ross and Archie Weindruch


During the summer of 2014, The University of Iowa hosted involved six students from Bettendorf High School and 19 teachers in a combination of research activities and a teacher institute.  The work was directed by our Principal investigator, Dr. Yasar Onel and mentored by three of the teachers, Peter Bruecken, Christopher Like and Moira Truesdell.  The summer activities focused on the following three projects:  Preparing scintillating plates for a test beam at Fermilab, Building a demonstration model of CMS and a week-long teacher institute for 16 teachers from across the state of Iowa.

Activity 1: Building a demonstration model of CMS:

Three of the students aided a graduate student in executing his grant to build a demonstration model of The Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) at CERN.  The students drew parts in a proprietary program for a 3D printer, programmed Arduino® controller boards and helped design the assembly of the printer.  The task consisted of making a 1/160 scale drawing of each functional part of CMS and printing the separate parts on the 3D printer.  The students then programmed the controller boards to simulate, using lights, the particle interactions in the model when a cosmic ray triggered an event.  The students programmed a Silicon Photomultiplier board to sense the presence of a cosmic ray and trigger a string of interactions in the model.  Later, an app for mobile devices would enhance the event for observers of the model.  The students drew and printed many parts for the demonstration as well as programmed some of the light boards for the model.


Activity 2: Scintillating plates:

Three other students aided two mentor/teachers in making quartz plates for a test beam at Fermilab.  The students brought a legacy vacuum system into working condition and did vapor deposition of organic materials on quartz plates.  The students then annealed the plates to make the deposition materials transparent and attached wave-shifting fibers to the edges of the plates to simulate tiles used in an actual calorimeter at CERN.  This work set up a test to compare the performance of the materials for consideration in updating instruments.  


Activity 3: Teacher Institute:

The three mentor teachers participated in providing a five-day, 40 hour institute for 16 other teachers who came from all parts of Iowa to hone their skills in particle physics and educational methodology.  They focussed on the content of particle physics, the Next Generation Science Standards and pedagogy of implementing them.  The teachers made lessons that focused the standards on high-energy particle physics topics.  The institute was highlighted by a visit to Fermilab complete with tours and a talk with a research physicist.

2014 Annual Report - University of Washington

We continued the successful experiences from 2013 and organized two QuarkNet events--a masterclass in May and a cosmic ray workshop in July, 2014. Here are detailed descriptions of each workshop:

a. Masterclass on May 15

    QuarkNet teachers/staff: Kenneth Cecire, David Trapp

    School: Meadowdale High

    HS Teacher: Jim Landon

    HS Student: 16 students

    Activities: Mon lab tour, Pixel Lab Tour, CMS masterclass, Virtual conference

    Jim Landon wrote a story with detailed descriptions of the event in the attachment. The collections of photos could be found here.

b. Cosmic Ray workshop during July 30 - Aug 1

    QuarkNet teacher/staff: Robert Peterson, David Trapp

    Invited Seminar Talks: Toby Burnett (gamma ray experiments), Jeff Wilkes (cosmic ray from galctic center)

    School: Liberty High, Inerlake High (new), Keiso High (new), Skyline High

    HS Teachers: Mark Buchli (LHS), Shem Thompson (IHS, new), Rose Emanuel (KHS, new)

    Students: 3 (LHS), 1 (IHS),  1(SHS)

    Activities: Pixel lab tour, Cosmic ray hands-on activities, plateau counters, flux rate measurement, Cosmic Ray e-Lab, student research report

   Miscellaneous comments:  Two new teachers each bring a CRMD back. Mark only brings a CRMD back and left another CRMD in UW for repairment. Two teachers quit the CRMD program - David Leman from Heritage University and James Landon from Meadowdale High. Two CRMDs were mailed back to FNAL.    

   Collections of the event pictures could be found here.

Posing and Illustrating “Quarked” Characters in Maya Software and AdobeFlash

Student Researchers: Kaustubh Nimkar, Lawrence High School, Lawrence KS

Research Teacher Mentor: James Deane, Ottawa High School, Ottawa KS

Research Mentors: Alice Bean, University of Kansas, Lawrence KS

Phil Baringer, University of Kansas, Lawrence KS

Dave Besson, University of Kansas, Lawrence KS



The purpose of the research was to pose and illustrate characters for games, videos, cartoons, and other use in the “Quarked” particle physics educational website.


We used the Maya 3D computer graphics software to pose the characters. The posed characters were then exported as a Photoshop data file and imported into Adobe Flash.


One character was illustrated in Adobe Flash. Four characters were posed, for a total of 17 poses. The characters will be used in games, videos, and other resources on the Quarked! website (www.quarked.org) once the materials are ready for deployment.

Meaning and Further Study

For future work sixteen additional characters need to be illustrated for use in the activities and supporting material on the website. Additional work may be needed as the games are ported to work with future platforms such as HTML5.

Higgs Boson Game Developed in Adobe Flash

Student Researchers: Ashley Hutton, Lawrence High School, Lawrence KS

Research Teacher Mentor: James Deane, Ottawa High School, Ottawa KS

Research Mentors: Alice Bean, University of Kansas, Lawrence KS

Patrick Shields, University of Kansas, Lawrence KS

Phil Baringer, University of Kansas, Lawrence KS



The development of this project came from the desire to entertainingly educate others of the newly discovered Higgs Boson. The game will eventually be published on the “Quarked!” website. This website includes games and videos and information that help students and others understand particle physics in an easier way. The Higgs game in particular, “Hanging With Higgs,” addresses the Higgs’ interaction with other particles. The Higgs and the other particles are represented by animated characters, helping individuals to grasp the physics concepts.


Hanging With Higgs was created using Adobe Flash. The graphics of the game were mostly edited in Adobe Photoshop. As the team members were unfamiliar with these platforms, the first few weeks were spent learning and understanding these programs enough to successfully develop this game. Information on the physics of particle interactions was obtained from and through Alice Bean, Patrick Shields and Phil Baringer.

A companion project in designing and posing the characters was completed by a colleague in the summer research program and is reported separately.


The game currently has two levels. In the first level, the player must correctly select the interaction strength the Higgs has with a randomly selected particle. The different interaction strengths are represented by unique Higgs poses. For example, the Higgs and the electron have a very small interaction, so the Higgs is extending his arm to touch only the tip of the electron, showing very little contact with the particle.

The second level features a cannon from which a random particle is launched to collide with the Higgs. The player's objective is to determine the speed the particle will be traveling after it interacts with the Higgs. The player is able to do this by adjusting a gauge on screen. These two levels will hopefully help students gain an understanding of the difficult Higgs interaction concept.

When ready for deployment, the project game will be hosted on the Quarked! website, http://www.quarked.org/

Meaning and Further Study

Modern research in particle physics including the discovery and analysis of the Higgs particle is often difficult for classroom teachers at all levels to incorporate into standard science curriculum. This game and others on the Quarked! website provide teachers and students with an interactive environment that promotes curiosity, basic knowledge, and a base for further study. We expect future development will include the production of more levels of the Higgs game, as well as new games highlighting other areas of particle physics.

2014 Annual Report - Virtual Center

Virtual QuarkNet is a group of far flung, often isolated American high school science teachers from Boston and Atlanta, to the northwest coast of Washington, Taiwan and Shanghai.  Mentors Antonio Delgado and Dan Karmgard are assisted by lead teachers Mike Wadness and Dave Trapp.  In the 2013-14 school year they held 10 monthly meetings via Sunday evening (Monday morning in Asia) video conference.  Attendance varied from 5 to 10 with an average of 8.2 participants.  Sessions typically lasted from an hour to 90 minutes.  Several sessions had guest speakers and nearly all of them included discussions of the latest physics discoveries or theories.

Many of the group members have cosmic ray detectors at their school and many also had high school students participate in Masterclass.

The group also typically gathers for a couple days each summer at a site which offers new insights into physics.  In 2014 the group gathered in Spearfish SD with the assistance of members of the Spearfish QuarkNet group.  They learned of the new EQUIP Java cosmic ray detector interface, the new detector data blessing protocols and interface support, viewed the new International Linear Collider Masterclass (using simulated data), visited research activities on the Black Hills State campus, visited the Sanford underground Laboratory learning about the latest neutrino and dark matter research, and sat in on a couple CETUP conference talks.  Time permitted many of the members to visit other local areas such as Mount Rushmore, the Crazy Horse Memorial and Devil’s Tower.

2014 Annual Report - Oklahoma State

Thanks to everyone involved for making QuarkNet 2014 a success!  

QuarkNet 2014 gave some Oklahoma high school science teachers an inside look at the world of particle physics and some of the amazing research being done at OSU and OU.  The program included lectures, hands-on activities, and lab tours.  This year we also had the special treat of Ken Cercire visiting to lend a helping hand.  
The teachers learned about a range of topics in high energy physics in the lectures on Monday and Tuesday, including:
  • an overview of the experimental high energy physics program (photo);
  • an introduction to the Higgs boson and how it was discovered (slides);
  • an introduction to Symmersymmetry (photo);
  • neutrinos and their crazy ways.
Monday and Tuesday also featured tours of some of the experimental physics labs at OSU, including a laser lab (photo), radiation lab (photo), and biophysics lab.  Activities on Wednesday were hosted by OU, with a tour of the OU library and various physics labs, including the high energy physics facilities.  The teachers got their hands dirty on Thursday and Friday, looking at data from the ATLAS experiment and trying to identify various praticles produced in the collisions.  

2014 Annual Report - University of Mississippi

by Lucien Cremaldi

The Mississippi QuarkNet struggled a bit in 2014. We met in the fall for 2013 to make plans for Masterclass, a LIGO trip, and summer workshop. Unfortunately our plans for spring Masterclass were not well founded and we ended up not hosting the event. Dennis Reed retired from the Math and Science School and we are just recovering from the loss. The QuarkNeT teachers schedule to visit the LIGO detector in Livingston LA were delayed, when the LIGO Science Center coincidently needed to shut down to put up a new exhibit and rescheduling became difficult. We have tentatively plan to make the LIGO visit in the fall. We held a small workshop in the summer. Dr. Kroeger gave lectures on electromagnetism. Dr. Cremaldi led experiments on the the photoelectric effect and the angular dependence of cosmic rays. Denis Byrd received CEU credit for the work.

Jimmy Reidy and student Cole Atkins work on projects in June and July. Cole and Jimmy built an 8x8x8 LED cube, Figure 1(a), 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 challenging. We are learning the programming of the arduino. Cole and Jimmy also worked with David Sanders on a flow controller and flow read-back electronics for the Belle II experiment, Figure 1(b). 


Download PDF of report.

2014 Annual Report - Syracuse University

Cosmic Ray Detectors and LHCb MasterClass with the SU HEP Group
(S. Blusk, Sept. 12, 2014)


The Syracuse High Energy Physics group held a 3-day Quarknet workshop from Jun 30 – July 2 in the physics department. Prof. Blusk and Prof. Soderberg hosted the event. Seven teachers were able to join the event, who are shown in the photo below. The phot shows: (bottom row, left to right) Alexa Perry (Fayetteville-Manlius), Justin Shute (Fayetteville-Manlius), Cynthia Lamphere (Port Byron), Michael Madden (Candidagua); and (top row, left to right) Prof. Mitch Soderberg, Bob Peterson (Quarknet), Ryan Sokol (Liverpool), Ranald Bleakley (Weedsport), Prof. Steven Blusk, and Josh Buchman (Fayetteville-Manlius). Bob Peterson was on hand to help facilitate the worskshop.

In this year’s workshop the focus was to introduce the new suite of tools available in the Cosmic Ray Detector e-Lab. In addition, the teachers learned about the new graphical user interface (GUI) to communicate with the data acquisition. In addition to learning the new features, we set a goal to develop a laboratory or demonstration, which could be used in their classroom this year. In the case of the laboratory, the teachers were to draft the lab writeup for the students, so that it would be (more or less) ready to use in this academic year.

In addition to the summer program, we hosted our first LHCb MasterClass on March 28, 2014. About 30 students from the local high schools came to the physics department to participate. In the morning, the students listened to a pair of lectures by Profs Blusk and Soderberg on the Standard Model and on the phenomena of weak decays. After lunch, each student was given his/her own computer where they got to analyze real LHCb data on D0-->Kpi decays. In the first part, they got to scan single events one at a time to try and find the D0 decays. In the second part, they performed a fit to the reconstructed decay time to measure the D0 lifetime. Several stories were run in the local news or in the SU News, such as these: http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2012/06/physics_teachers_get_a_chance.html, and http://asnews.syr.edu/newsevents_2012/releases/QuarkNet_story.html, and  http://asnews.syr.edu/newsevents_2014/releases/physics_masterclass.html. Some photos from the event are shown below.

2014 Annual Report - FIU

                            Quarknet Annual Report -  September 2014

                                       Florida International University Center – Miami, Fl

Quarknet Center:   F.I.U. -  Center since 2004

Faculty and Staff involvement: 

Dr. Jorge Rodriguez -  Mentor Scientist – PI

David Jones -  Coordinator

Lead Teachers affiliated with FIU Center (either attending QN week at Fermi lab or the new “Boot camp”.

• David Jones – 2004 (moved on to college teaching)

• JC Catala, Miami Lakes Educational Center, Miami Fl – 2008 (moved on to college teaching in 2010)

• Russell Harcha –Miami Killian Senior HS, Miami Fl – 2009

• Jorge Barroso -  Miami Coral Reef Sr. HS,  Miami Fl -- 2011

• Andres Torres -  Ronald Reagan Sr. HS (attended both QN and Boot camp)

•  Miranda Chin – Miami Sunset Sr. HS (attended Boot camp 14)


Workshop -  Summer 2014,  July – 5 day workshop August 4 - 8, 2014


•  Andres Torres – workshop leader, Reagan HS

•  Russell Harcha – Miami Killian

• Miranda Chin-Hernandez – Miami Sunset Sr. HS

•  Andres Guaty – Felix Varela Sr. HS


  5 @ $100 per day

Total = $1600

 Academic Year 13/14 FIU Center Activity

Classroom Detectors:

•  Killian Detector:

         Another detector was placed at Miami Killian HS with our other Lead Teacher Russell Harcha.  Russell enjoys particle physics and the chance to work with the detector.  Russell seemed to make a little headway with using the detector and a small little “physics club” that worked with him after school.

This group made progress this past year.  A couple of dedicated students and Russ got the detector completely calibrated and working well.  The group participated in the National Muon Day event and had some success with some flux data during this period.

         Russell intends on building more success with the detector this year and has already used the detector during the 9/25 event from Fermi lab.

Felix Varela -    Andres Guaty  has had limited work with the detector in the past.  He seems committed and seems to have renewed interest after this summer’s workshop.

Sunset Sr. HS -   Miranda had the detector at her school, but found it difficult to incorporate the detector use into her very busy schedule.  She attended the Boot Camp this summer and seems to have interest in maybe implementing some ideas in her classroom.

• Ronald Reagan Sr. HS -  Andres Torres

         Andres had some success this past school year.  A group of students working with the detector used their work in the ISSEF competition.  They earned a place in the national standings.  Picture below of students and Andres.

This is a news blurb about the students from Reagan HS:

60th Annual South Florida Regional

Science and Engineering Fair Results:

   1. - Rebecca Zappala                      (9th grade)            Honorable Mention            Engineering Honor Society      Environmental management

   2. - Nicole Manfrini                         (12th grade)              Superior                        Engineering Honor Society      Environmental/Mechanical Engineering

   3. - Natalia Padillo-Anthemides        (10th Grade0          First Place                        Engineering Honor society      Environmental Management

   4.-  Physics students and Engineering Honor Society members Ana Olano and Yonah Elorza have been selected to participate in The International Science and Engineering Fair as one of the 6 projects representing South Florida in Los Angeles between May 11, 2014 and May 16, 2014. Their work was in particle physics and was conducted in our physics lab. We would like to express our gratitude to David Jones, FIU CHEPREO Education and Outreach Coordinator, for his support with the equipment provided by QuarkNet program -2003, along with Fermilab. The project was entitled “Muon Flux through Various Substances and Conditions” and deal with the deflection of muons resulting from decaying cosmic rays using electrical and magnetic fields as well as free-flowing ions in electrolytic cells

2013-14  -  Detectors in Schools  (and 14-15)

The current year will have detectors at

i)  Miami Killian   -   Russell Harcha

ii)  R Reagan Sr. HS -  Andres Torres

iii)  Felix Varela Sr. HS -  Andres Guaty  -

iv)  Miami Sunset Sr. -  Miranda Chin

 Summer  2014 Workshop –

 The workshop was a 5 day workshop.  Jorge Rodriguez interacted with the four QN teachers.  They worked on the following activities during the week:

  • Using R. Harcha’s detector – disassembled the detector completely and rebuilt from scratch to learn all of the working parts of the detector
  • Learn the Z-term/working with electronics
  • Plateauing the working detector
  • Working out kinks/bugs with Z-term, uploading, and interacting with the Cosmic Ray E-lab interface
  • Working with Jorge Rodriguez on Particle physics ideas.
  • Andres Torres presented to the group his work from the Boot Camp.
  • Andres Torres presented to the group the work that his students did to earn a place in the International Science Competition.

The four teachers had a great week and really enjoyed the interaction with PI/Particle Physicist Jorge Rodriguez.  I think the connections made during the week will help out with troubleshooting during the year.

Future Events:

After a few years working with the HS teacher, Jorge Rodriguez is seeing how to best interact with the teacher/High schools.  Rodriguez is still working on getting the CRIL detector up and going… and this means a more interesting and visual demonstration for HS visits.

2014 Annual Report - Fermilab-U Chicago

The University of Chicago sponsored its annual student summer research and teacher workshop for its 8th year. The summer research began June 23rd and went until August 1st. The three day teacher workshop spanned from July 29th to August 1st. This year’s summer activities included two mentor teachers, nine high school students (8 incoming seniors and 1 incoming junior), 12 physics teachers, and one lead scientist. Teachers from the workshop primarily were from the suburbs west of Chicago, all having taught physics or will be teaching physics this upcoming year. We had a good spread in gender, age, and years of experience in the classroom.

The summer research was extremely exciting for the students this year. Each student worked together with a mentor scientist on an experiment of their choosing. The students’ experiments ranged greatly. Some were modeling neutrino beams while others were developing automated code to be used on the CMS at CERN. Some were checking equipment malfunctions while others were learning to use Fourier transforms to isolate individual signal frequencies (these are high school students!). During the week, students would have the opportunity to attend lectures by well-known scientists as well as go on tours and nature walks. We would also have weekly meetings on Wednesdays to talk about logistics and the progress on the students’ experiments. Finally, for the teacher workshop, each student prepared a presentation to give on their experiment. All of these went well and we are extremely proud of their progress and accomplishments. Many of the students, although experiencing many frustrations, expressed a deep feeling of sorrow to have to leave their new friends which attests to the degree they loved being here for the summer.

The teacher workshop was also a great success. The three days were very similar. First an opening discussion with Chris Stoughton, the lead scientist, followed by a “Chalk-Talk” by a scientist. Usually, we would only have three scientists, however this year we had four: Don Lincoln, Deborah Harris, James Hocker, and Joe Lykken. We were fortunate to hear about topics from a wide variety of areas of study: Neutrinos, Dzero, SRF cavities, and theoretical physics. Following the scientist chalk-talk, three students would give their presentations. During and after every presentation, teachers were allowed and encouraged to ask questions. In fact, the theoretical physics presentation by Joe Lykken was dominated by questions from teachers, which is to be expected. Following the presentations and lunch, tours were given. This year we went to Dzero, NuMi Underground, and the Industrial building in Fermilab. Depending on the day, after the tour, we had other types of activities, either another tour or another presentation. Finally we ended each day with a discussions related to bringing what the teachers learned at Fermilab back to their classroom.

All in all, this year’s research and workshop was one of the best yet. Both teachers and students expressed their satisfaction from this summer. One teacher commented that this year had the best scientist talks. We are also now in the works of planning three different events to encourage and help teachers in areas they requested. We have planned a python learning workshop, a trip to Adler planetarium, and a possible two day master class in particle physics for those teachers that attended.

Mentors: Chris Stoughton and Tom Carter