U of Washington QuarkNet Center Annual Report 2016

NIU Annual Report

The NIU Quarknet Group had a diverse set of learning opportunities this year, filled with many learning styles and wide breadth of information considerations.  The mentor and Teacher Leader of the NIU group, Prof. Chakraborty, Elisa Gatz, respectively, had all rooms, equipment, snacks, and schedule prepared for a highly successful 2016 program.  Students and teachers participated in Quarknet sponsored Masterclass on March 3, 2016.  The Summer Program followed Masterclass on, June 6-10, with 3 teachers and 21 students. Student and teachers received direct instruction and modeling from several physics professors within the NIU community.  The first day all participants were welcomed by Prof. Lurio, the physics department head.  Other presentations included HEP, Cosmology and Cosmic Ray Connections by professor Eads.  Prof. Adelman presented Elementary Particle Physics at the Energy Frontier.  Prof. Chakraborty presented an HEP  link to real life presentation called, HEP research and inpact on our everyday lives.  The video portions to accompany these presentations were made available to teachers and students via dropbox and online at NIU site for future study and use.  Students had numerous opportunities to design, implement, and collect CRMD data on their own experiments.  Student results were summarized and shared during a culminating activity at the end of their research time.

University of Oregon 2016 Annual Report

QuarkNet Oregon 2016 The Center for High-­‐Energy Physics at the University of Oregon (UOCHEP) hosted the 2016 QuarkNet workshop June 23-­‐24 on the UO campus. This was our 15th summer workshop. A printed version of the workshop web page is given on the next page and the URL (including live links) is here: http://pages.uoregon.edu/rayfrey/QuarkNet/2016/QuarkNet_2016.html The focus for the workshop this year was gravitational waves and LIGO, relating the discovery for which the local group played a major role, and looking forward to prospects for using gravitational waves to learn about our universe. The full list of participants is given in the web page. The UOCHEP faculty participation was Ray Frey (lead mentor and co-­‐PI), Jim Brau (mentor and co-­‐PI), Tim Cohen, Spencer Chang, Graham Kribs, Stephanie Majewski, Robert Schofield, and Eric Torrence. Tim Cohen had just finished his first year as a new faculty member in high-­‐ energy theory. The faculty talks were very well received and, following usual practice, the presentation files are linked on the web page above, where they are available to teachers. A special guest this year was QuarkNet observer Dave Trapp. Six high school teachers joined us this year, including one rookie (Karen Hunter). Except for Hunter, all of the teachers are from public schools within about 100 miles of Eugene. Funds from the UO College of Arts and Sciences were used to cover local expenses (catering, parking, dorm rooms, misc equipment). Some comments on the main themes of the workshop: LIGO and gravitational waves. Jim Brau opened the workshop with a modified version of one of his recent public presentations about the discovery of gravitational waves. Ray Frey gave a talk on day two relating what has been learned so far about astrophysics from the discovery, and what we might expect from LIGO in the next years. Spencer Chang gave a talk comparing the similarities and differences between electromagnetic radiation and gravitational radiation (i.e. gravitational waves). Robert Schofield ended the workshop by relating the work he led in making sure the first detected event was really from an astrophysical source, and not some terrestrial noise source which mimicked gravitational waves. Other research. Continuing with the astrophysical theme, Graham Kribs presented what we know about supernovae, emphasizing the role of elementary particles (neutrinos) in the physical process and in the detection. Undergraduate student Taylor Contreras gave a nice talk on the UO’s Pine Mountain Observatory (near Bend, Oregon) and its opportunities for undergraduate research. She showed the recent observation of a supernova in galaxy M66 which she made at Pine Mountain, which tied in nicely with the Kribs talk. Eric Torrence discussed the status of the LHC and Atlas detector at CERN and gave a nice primer on how the LHC works. Finally, Tim Cohen gave a nice introduction to the topic of dark matter. Education and outreach. Stephanie Majewski gave a nice presentation about a program she initiated a few years ago: “Putting Your Degree to Work.” This program brings UO alums to campus to talk to students about their exciting jobs not in academia. It is a very popular and successful program. Bryan Rebar, co-­‐Director of an organization at UO called STEM-­‐CORE, talked about how this program encourages and promotes research carried out by teachers. Finally, we had our popular teacher-­‐led segment on “cool projects” from last year and plans for the coming year. This gives the participants a chance to benefit from each other’s experience and creativity. It is worth noting that the teachers all provided unsolicited and very positive comments at the end of the workshop about QuarkNet Oregon. Many pointed out that it is truly unique among the many choices teachers in Oregon have for professional development and something they encourage colleagues to become involved with.

UO QuarkNet Workshop June 23-24, 2016, 412 Willamette Hall, University of Oregon
  Thur June 23   Fri June 24
8:30 Catered light food and coffee, Wil 412 8:30 gather, eat, drink
9:00 Ray Frey: Welcome, introductions 9:00 Ray Frey: Astrophysics with GWs – implications so far and prospects
9:20 Jim Brau: Einstein's Warped Universe: Riding Gravitational Waves Through Space-time 10:00 Tim Cohen: Dark Matter
10:50 Stephanie Majewski: Physics in Industry 11:00 (All) What cool projects I did last year and what I plan to do next
11:50 Bryan Rebar: STEM-CORE program; research year. opportunities for teachers    
12:00 lunch, on your own 12:00 lunch, on your own
1:30 Eric Torrence: LHC – How does it work? Current status. 1:30 Projects (contd.)
3:00 Graham Kribs: Supernovae 2:00 Spencer Chang: Radiation – electromagnetic and gravitational
4:00 Taylor Contreras: Pine Mountain Observatory 3:00 Robert Schofield: How do we know we detected gravitational waves?

Contacts: Ray Frey, rayfrey (at uoregon.edu), 541-346-5873 Anne McGinley, annem (at uoregon.edu), 541-346-4898 UO Faculty participants: Jim Brau, Spencer Chang, Tim Cohen, Ray Frey, Graham Kribs, Stephanie Majewski, Bryan Rebar, Robert Schofield, Eric Torrence UO Student Presenter: Taylor Contreras QuarkNet Volunteer: Dave Trapp High school science teacher participants: Beth Chruchill (Salem) Ron Crawford (Bend) Karen Hunter (Home Schooler) Art Liddle (Springfield HS) Sonia Ljungdahl (Springfield HS) Asher Tubman (South Eugene HS) Links: Oregon QuarkNet US QuarkNet Support: QuarkNet program: National Science Foundation and US Dept of Energy UO College of Arts and Sciences QuarkNet Oregon 2016

Research Abstract for HS interns

Student Abstract Information for HS internship at WIPAC/UW-Madison


Zooniverse-based citizen projects for IceCube and DECO

Owen Roszkowski  (West High School), Valerie Hellmer (West High School)

Jeff Leider (Janesville Craig HS)

Sílvia Bravo, Justin Vandenbroucke (WIPAC)

The purpose of our research was to develop a citizen science project inviting citizens to improve the DECO and IceCube classification algorithms. Although WIPAC scientists have computer-based algorithms that classify different type of events, those are not 100% efficient and tend to fail in cases where the human eye can do a very good job.

Students worked on understanding the current classifications algorithms, identifying events that were not correctly classified, developing a classification algorithm based on information that can be seen by eye on DECO and IceCube displays, and implementing the project on Zooniverse. They have both implemented the first version of these Zooniverse projects. WIPAC will work with the fall internship program to upload final data samples and prepare the beta test. We expect to make these projects public in early 2017.



Improved algorithms for classification of DECO events

Tyler Dolan  (Monona Grove High School), Adrian Cisneros (Milton High School)

Jeff Leider (Janesville Craig HS)

Sílvia Bravo, Justin Vandenbroucke (WIPAC)

The purpose of our research was to improve the current computer-based algorithms for the classification of DECO events. The main goal of DECO is to detect muons from cosmic-ray showers, but the app also detects background radiation and noise in the devices. Current algorithms identify muon tracks with a 70% efficiency. Tyler and Adrian worked on improved algorithms to target specific patterns in events that are usually misclassified. Although their algorithms didn’t exceed the 70% efficiency, their work helped to better understand how to improve the current algorithms. This team also worked with the Zooniverse-based research project described above to create synergies between both.


iOS  DECO app

Felipe Campos  (Collegiate School in Richmond, VA)

Jeff Leider (Janesville Craig HS)

Sílvia Bravo, Justin Vandenbroucke (WIPAC)

The purpose of this project was to follow up with work done by Felipe last year and complete the development of the iOS DECO app. Felipe had to improve their programming skills, but also to understand the physics behind the particle interactions detected by cell phone cameras, and develop efficient data taking and data transfer processes. The app is now in beta testing and will be launch to the general public in the coming months.

UW–Madison QuarkNet Center 2015-2016 Annual Report

The QuarkNet efforts at UW–Madison are led by the Wisconsin IceCube Astrophysics Center (WIPAC). Prof. Justin Vandenbroucke (co-PI) and Dr Silvia Bravo (co-PI) work together with several researchers working with the IceCube Neutrino Observatory and the Distributed Electronic Cosmic-ray Observatory (DECO).

The QuarkNet program @ WIPAC included two activities this year.

i) IceCube Masterclass at WIPAC, held on March 2 and 9 in Madison. WIPAC led the third edition of the IceCube Masterclasses held at twelve different IceCube institutions in the US and Europe. We also hosted the first Spanish edition of an IceCube MasterClass. In Madison, 55 students from six high schools in the Madison area attended the masterclass.

Budget considerations: there are no budget expenses associated with this activity.

ii) HS student internship to develop data analysis tools for and the iOS app of DECO and citizen science projects based on the Zooniverse platform for IceCube and DECO.  Prof. Justin Vandenbroucke leads the DECO project, an app that turns your cell phone into a cosmic-ray detector. Dr. Sílvia Bravo leads citizen science efforts at WIPAC. We hosted a total of 5 students and workd with one teacher. Two students developed algorithms to automatically classify DECO events, building on efforts started during the HS internship last summer.  A third student continued the developement the iOS version of the DECO app, which is now in beta testing. Finally, two students worked in de desing and development of a DECO and IceCube project on Zooniverse. The Zooniverse efforts are currently continued with the WIPAC HS fall internship.

Budget considerations: students worked during up to 6 weeks with an hourly pay of $7.75 per hour .

We keep working with our QuarkNet teachers, although we did not host any teacher workshop this year.


UW–Madison QuarkNet Center

2015-2016 Budget





QuarkNet Funding

2015 IceCube Masterclass

Second Edition

Not Funded

HS internship for DECO and IceCube*

5 students , ~6 weeks

1 teacher




FSU QuarkNet Annual Report 2016

Virtual Center Annual Report

Virtual Center Annual Report 2016

This year The Virtual Center was very successful.

We continue to meet virtually once a month via video conference.

This summer 8 members of our group choose to meet at the University of Chicago for a major update on LIGO’s newest discoveries.  The learning experience was enriched through presentations from our own members as well as guest speakers, Shane Larson, on staff at Adler Planetarium as well as other Universities; and a live videoconference with Dale Ingram from Hanover LIGO.  

Shane's presentation was very informative and he is an exceptional speaker.  Would highly recommend to any other centers considering a LIGO update if they are nearby his homebase.

Dale gave newest information from the Hanover site and answered our questions regarding the discovery and their publishing process.

Danielle McDermott posted a copy of Shane Larson’s power point to the Virtual Center site so we could all have access in the future.  Teacher groups posted to the Virtual Center their LIGO elab site work.  'The Gents' and 'Debbie and Kathy'.

We were fortunate to have both our mntors present during this meeting, Antonio Delgado, theoretical physicist and Dan Karmgard, experimental physicist.  The exchange of ideas from the different points of view were, as always, fascinating.  We are exceptionally lucky to have both points of view which allow updates on the theory and the practice of HEP.

Member, Trish Baker, had a research student during the school year 15-16.  Using a CRMD with set up help from fellow virtual LF member, Debbie Gremmelsbacher, Trish’s student conducted extensive studies on many aspects of muon detection such as plate distance, concrete layer shielding, and atmospheric effects. 

Our members continue to use elabs and masterclass when appropriate depending on the class we are teaching or presenting to.

Below are specific notes from the August 2016 meetings by date.

Virtual Quarknet Meeting August 11-13

Thursday August 11:  University of Illinois Chicago:  UIC


Seismic data.   absolutely necessary for LIGO research.

Antonio Delgado:  mentor news from LHC:  HEP meeting lepton and aps,  lhc was working last year but not perfectly, this year it is working beyond expectations.  The data today has cleaned up the 750 TeV data.  New data had a particle that decays to 2 photons of high energy.  One of the ways to discover a Higgs.  750 gEv doesnot exist.  over 100 papers tried to explain.    frequency y v Mgg on the x.  90 of 100 were the same paper… Higgs has been appearing regularly at 13 TeV data.

 Ice cube experiment:   km of ice looking for neutrinos, run by University of Wisconsin, have reported new cosmic ray data as well as neutrinos.  Neutrinos do have mass and they oscillate.  Not all the data can be completely fitted to the 3 we know of.  They do not all come from the Z particle.

Einstein explained that maxwells equation could explain how something travels faster than c.  Gravity took Einstein 1905-1916.  Completely different.  Something unique and different.  Forces are external, space and time.  Gravity bends space time, it is not a force.  In special relativity you must say what time is it in what frame.  There are certain questions that do not make sense.  Space bends in the way anything bends, but space and time.  You must have time and space coordinates.  Bending. You feel gravity going from one space to another because it is moving.  Projection of a globe onto a flat map is misleading. 

A triangle on a spherical surface has angles that total 360 not 180.  matter affect space time and vice versa. Maxwell’s equation of a wave is one of the easiest explanations that moves at c, the gravitational wave moving at c. Very difficult measurement to make because what you are looking for is soooo weak, and surrounding interference is so great.

The gravitational waves we are currently seeing are from Black Holes, only the most massive of objects.  We are also looking at SuperNova.

In the same way that a photon is a quantum of light.       the graviton is a quantum of gravity. 

From Einstein mass and energy is the same,there must be an affect on all particles even light.  Newtonian mechanics cannot explain the bending of light but Einstein’s relativity can.  We do not have a theory of Quantum Gravity.  It makes sense to call contact forces a force but long range Forces like gravity, we really should not use the word force.  You would be more correct to describe it as gravity interaction.  This is not the same as astronomical gravitational waves.

classical physics has h with a value.       quantum physics h=0.  The way we build theories in the quantum world.  When what you are calculating comes close to the Plank mass.  String theory is not a theory of particles.  It is a potential explanation of quantum gravity, not particles.  String theory has not been able to derive anything regarded to gravity. Philosophical changes in ways of teaching physics at all college levels.  Plank mass = 10 to the 19th GeV.  Higg’s field shows the binding energy mass of the quarks inside a proton.  The Higgs does not measure the mass of the quarks, but the conversion of the binding energy of the quarks to mass.

August 11; pm

Helix with spring and laser demo.   creates an x of lines and spaces with another set of spaces in between.  Using measurements from the pictures produced on a screen, you can calculate the radium and pitch of the spring.

Einstein’s messengers video explaining bend in space time; video was made prior to the discovery of gravitational waves at LIGO.

LIGO seismology questions.  Online at virtual site.

Friday August 12:

am videoconference with Dale Ingram from Hanover LIGO

Monitors surround the walls.  combination of detector parameters, monitoring various physical properties.

also monitors contain past and current data.  system monitors the suspension system considered to be a subsystem of the larger system.  Also shown is the laser beam camera view at different points along the 2 detector arms.  The Guardian screen is of the software system that oversees the detector, color coded with different channels of software subsystems.  The also have a display of reference traces.  shows separation of instrument at lower frequency of around 10 Hz.  but the differences are on the 10 -16 m differences.

Seismometer graph overlays of from different positions withing the arms.  Current graph shows a 7.5 quake in the Pacific Ocean, and it will be several hours before the the background and aftershocks calm down enough so that they will be able to possibly see a gravity wave.  Right now there is too much interference.  Significant investment has been made in sensing equipment for safety and measuring.  The first data run produced 2 gravity waves announced at different times as the data was evaluated.  Then there is about a 3 month delay between ‘I think we have something’ and checking it out and having an official announcement.

After a significant event there is continuous movement for a significant time.  So the resonance within the interferometer is loss.  They call this “Losing Lock” within the interferometer.  We experienced this yesterday when we set up the table top interferometer.  Very difficult obtain a successful “locked” position macroscopically, a slight lean on the table will cause ‘Losing Lock’.  Dale had to leave the control room.  And is now in the electronics room.  the electronics are sources out for production, then they test and adapt what is manufactured for them.  Their designs are developed at CalTech.  Physics and electrical engineers are both working on the same equipment.

difference between the signal of black holes colliding vs neutron stars spiraling, sometimes varied by the frequency level reached in the detector.  computer helps identify with software modeling within the computer.  Black holes are much lower frequencies than neutron star circling.  Mathematical modeling in spirals has been a 30 year calculation problem that was solved about 8 years ago.  Also, the amplitude of the signal helps identify the type of event that caused the gravitational wave.  Neutron stars spiral up to a very high frequency.  the black holes that merged were each about 30 solar masses.  2 neutron stars 30 times bigger than the sun are orbiting each other at 150 cycles/sec, so their total spiral for 2 bodies 300 cycles/sec.  black hole mergers do not produce an electromagnetic signal.  the neutron star spiral may produce a gamma ray signal.  Multi signal (messenger) astromony is becoming a big field.  Looking for all kinds of signals.  gamma, EMR, magnetic, seismic.  They have letters of agreement with 60 different laboratories collecting data.  Dozens of partners are alerted when they pick up a trigger.  and vice versa.  Double way of looking, check photons and neutrinos, to try and locate the place in space to look for where the trigger came from.

What goes on between first sight and announcement.  About 5 months between detection and publication.

detailed and laborious cross checking of the data to rule out the possibility that the signal was not gravitational. make sure there are no correlations with other sienvironmentsl gnals.  Also rigorous checking with the other detector.  make sure that it wasn’t something environmental or internal that set them off.  also rule out that it wasn’t an injection, but an Accidentally planted self check.

modeling the event by using the wave form.  assigning parameters run through general and special relativity calculations to make sure that.

writing the paper… the first paper.  Hundreds of scientists at different places around the world, 1st draft, 2nddraft.took about a week.  They anticipate the process will speed up with time.

Yesterday’s discovery is today’s  background and tomorrow’s calibration. Dan Karmgard

One person’s signal is another person’s noise.  Dale Ingram

Project Poster work. 

Double earth quake discovered in LIGO, May 18, 2016.  we used usgs to find epicenter.  Rosa Zarate, Ecuador.

2:30 pm Friday:  Shane Larson

Center for Interdisciplineary Exploration and Research in Astronomy.  CIERA

blog:  writescience.wordpress.com

twitter @sciencejedi

A new kind of astronomy; 

past pictures from hubble and our own telescopes lead us to be familiar with pictures of space objects, moon.

newer astronomy does not depend so much on photographs. IR, microwave, etc.  Trying to look at the sky, the Milky Way Galaxy blocks your view of whatever you are trying to see.  The Milky Way is called the Zone of Avoidance by astronomists. 

Can you harness the ideas of studying the cosmos as a whole.  Gravitational waves are transverse.  x and y.  Polarization state for gravitational waves are compression and expansion in a flat plane in front of you, when the wave is traveling toward you, perpendicular change.

What are gravitational waves, a consequence of special relativity.

If you can receive the wave of the collision that created the gravitry wave it should tell you something about the interaction that created the wave.  How does the phenomena you want to observe affect the space around you. It took 47 years to figure out how to build 1957 at the ChapelHill Conference (Parani)  His concentration was on factors of invariance between ople measure things in different ways.  Distance. = proper space time distance.

Two polarization states, plus and cross:  +  and  x

Gravitational wave spectrum freq v period. could convert to wavelengths.

period represents the time for one rotation.  seconds per cycle.

twice the orbital frequency is the gravitational frequency. 

Runaway mergers; citizen science program.  Zooniverse.org



Statistical Mechanics


Plasma Physics 1