2016 Annual Report - SMU

The report is in the attachment

Virginia Tech QuarkNET Center - Report for Year 2016

The Virginia Tech QuarkNET Center currently has 2 active high school teachers, and is actively recruiting additional participants. Our lead teachers are Rebecca Jaronski and Nicholas Merrill.

This was an exciting summer for the Virginia Tech QuarkNET Center! We welcomed our new lead teacher and my new partner-in-crime, Nick Merrill.  Nick is a teacher at the Roanoke Governor’s School and starting next summer we should be working together to really grow this center by adding new teachers from the area.

            Lab work for the QuarkNET teachers in the High Energy Physic Lab really picked up where Rebecca left off last year.  The lab is making great strides towards building the Micro-Chandler device for their great project of creating a detector for nuclear reactor safeguards.  The Micro-Chandler requires a large number of operational and well-understood photomultiplier tubes (PMTs) and our small part of this large project is to help test and calibrate these PMTs.  Last year Rebecca ran a cosmic ray/muon calibration with the cosmic ray detector Rebecca had assembled in the lab.  Over the school year others tested the PMTs with a high-light setup.  For this summer, the task of the QuarkNET teachers (Rebecca and Nicholas) was to test these PMTs with a low-light setup (see attached pictures for the electronics setup, pmt and laser and computer and notebook).  They were looking for single PE (single photon emission), essentially the threshold light intensity that will cause the PMTs to function.  In order to test this the teachers had a pulsed diode laser hooked up with some NIM hardware, and a computer system with an analysis program.(full description and pictures of the setup can be found on the PowerPoint presentation attached).  The setup was already assembled and ready by the time the teachers started work this summer, so after being instructed by Dr. Sumanta Pal and Dr. Camillo Mariani in the basic design and purpose, the teachers started to work testing the PMTs.  The teachers started off by finding an effective operating high voltage (HV) for each PMT by setting the LASER at a high intensity and looking for a peak around 3,000 ADC (this was essentially a measure of the light collected by the detector when a muon passed through it).  The teachers found that in general, this ideal HV was between the cosmic ray test from last summer (these HVs were higher) and the high-light test (these HVs were lower).  After determining the HV for that PMT, they started the LASER (see picture) at a low intensity and took data runs of 5 minutes, increasing the intensity each trial.  Ideally, the data curve was supposed to show a peak that would tell them they saw the single PE, but they were not seeing that, even with taking longer runs and with adjusting the bin sizes and numbers on the histograms.  It was determined to instead search for the ratio between the total number of counts and the count under the curve for that trial which had been previously determined to be around 30% for single PE.  They were able to test all the free PMTs in the lab with this setup and the data resulted super-useful to the project.

            Outside of the lab, the VT QuarkNET teachers had some other great chances for professional development.  Merrill attended Fermilab Data camp, and Rebecca had the wonderful opportunity to spend a week in Greece at the Inspiring Science Education Summer School: “Discover the Cosmos: From Telescopes to Accelerators”.  According to Rebecca: “It was an amazing experience, and it was not just the inclusive stay at the resort on Marathon Bay, or the fabulous tours of the Temple of Poseidon and the Acropolis! It was very interesting to talk to and work with teachers from outside of the US, as they have some different resources, methods, and philosophies and as teachers we are ALWAYS looking for something new, different, and exciting to engage our students in the classroom and get them truly interested in science.  I have already signed up my high school astronomy class to participate in the Eratosthenes Experiment, which is an international collaboration managed by the ISE team, and have a great new tool for creating web quests and interactive lessons for students and am very excited to use these in the year to come!”



Colorado State University QuarkNet Center 2016 Annual Report

QuarkNet Center @ Colorado State University

FY 2015-2016 Annual Report


Faculty mentors: Dr. Bob Wilson, Physics Professor, Physics Department, Colorado State University

Lead teachers: Cherie Bornhorst, Science Teacher, Loveland High School; and Adam Pearlstein, Teacher in Residence, Colorado State University


The Colorado State Quarknet Center is now in its 5th year. In the first two years of our program, we focused on cosmic ray research, and deployed 4 detectors at high schools on the Front Range. In our third year we worked to expand our program; both in membership of teachers, and to include other aspects of high energy physics, and were trained on the use of the CMS e-Lab. The focus our fourth year was classroom application; to train our teachers on the use of their CRMD’s with the new EQUIP program, and hosting students for our first annual Masterclass event. And this year’s focus is to build on the strengths and skill sets of the teachers involved with our program, and to explore even more ways to bring high energy data into the classroom!



Our Masterclass this year at CSU was unfortunately cancelled due to over a foot of snow that fell on the scheduled day. We’re looking forward to resuming with Masterclass again next year!


Quarknet@CSU Workshop:

A five day workshop was held at CSU on June 13-17, 2016, and mostly took place in the Physics 111 Lab at CSU. The workshop dates coincided with the US Particle Accelerator Summer School program, which was held in Fort Collins this summer. Monday morning we were invited to partake in the USPAS and hear introductory lectures from 3 different HEP researchers and professors from CSU. This included an introduction to the “Physics of the Universe” by our mentor, Professor Bob Wilson, an “Introduction to the Standard Model” from Professor Walter Toki who works with the T2K experiment, and an “Overview of Cosmic Ray Physics” by Professor John Harton who works with the Auger experiment. After a morning of lectures, we traveled to CSU where we spent the remainder of the week. A major goal of the remaining 4.5 days was to expose teachers to the resources and activities available through the Quarknet Data Portfolio. Monday afternoon teachers were led through the Plotting the LHC activity, and TOTEM Data Express. Tuesday morning started with a share-a-thon with our teachers. We had a great time sharing resources we use in our classrooms, and of one of the major highlights was a lab setup for the Milliken experiment that many of us hadn’t seen before. We are applying for funds next year to build a couple sets of this lab setup that we can share among our teachers. Tuesday afternoon our mentor, Professor Bob Wilson gave a presentation on his research in neutrino oscillation and work with the LBNE experiment. We got to tour his lab and hear from the graduate students who were prototyping the detectors that will surround the DUNE experiment.  Wednesday and Thursday of the workshop we spent time working with our Cosmic Ray Muon Detectors, and running Lifetime and Time of Flight studies which we had not done in previous years. This gave us all time to refresh ourselves on working with the detectors and the Cosmic Ray E-lab, as well as teach the new teacher to our group how to use the equipment.

The final day of the workshop was dedicated time for the teachers to continue learning more about cosmic rays and setup their CRMD’s in their classrooms. Teachers took data with the cosmic ray detectors, using the new Java-based program, EQUIP, which allows teachers a real-time look at muon counts on each channel during data collection, as well as an ease of user interface. Teachers had time to review the steps necessary to collect data that is “blessed”, and therefore open-source data once uploaded to the Cosmic Ray eLab. The detectors are currently with teachers at 3 Colorado high schools, namely: Cherokee Trail High School, Berthoud High School, and Greeley West High School.


Teachers participating in the summer workshop:

Cherie Bornhorst, Loveland High School

Adam Pearlstein, Colorado State University

Zach Armstrong, Greeley West High School

Chris Nichols, Castleview High School

Roger Felch, Castleview High School

Austin Gager, Cherokee Trail High School


Rice University/University of Houston Quarknet center annual report for 2016

    We had two Saturday physics events during the fall of 2015. One was on
September 19 and was titled "The Physics of Sound and Music", and the second was on
October 17 and was on the topic of high temperature superconductors. The talk about
sound and music was especially popular, with approximately 180 students in

    At the end of the fall semester, University of Houston outreach coordinator
Robert Dubois retired and moved to New Mexico. We were unable to regroup in time to
organize more Saturday Physics events during the spring of 2016, but hope to host
two or three events during the fall of 2016.

    We held a CMS master class at Carnegie Vanguard school in March of 2016. We had
about 25 students participating in the all-day event. Professors Frank Geurts and
Marj Corcoran gave a lecture about the standard model and helped the students work
with the CMS data.

     A one-week workshop was held on the Rice campus from June 6-10,
2016. We had 17 teachers in attendance each day. This year we received special
permission from Quarknet to host more than 15 teachers due to the
number of inquiries we had this year (thanks very much!).  Quarknet Fellow Marla
Glover showed the teachers the CMS Master Class on Tuesday and Wednesday. We had a
series of very interesting and well-received talks over the course of the week.
Professor Mustafa Amin, a cosmologist at Rice, gave a talk about dark matter.
Professor Larry Pinsky from the University of Houston talked about the CERN@school
program in the UK, and ideas about extending the program to the US. We had two talks
about medical physics--one from a former Rice Ph. D. student, focussing on proton
therapy for cancer. The second talk dealt with various types of medical imaging.

     We also spent three afternoons working with cosmic ray detectors. One of our
new teachers, Thomas Etienne, has taken over the detector from Dobie High School
(formerly Jeanne Parlangeli's detector). The Dobie HS detector had problems which we
were able to trace to the DAQ card. Later in the summer Marj Corcoran was at
Fermilab and was able to exchange the broken DAQ card for a working one.
One of our teachers, Robert Schenke of Carnegie Vanguard HS, is retiring this year,
and returned his detector to Rice.

  One of our Quarknet teachers, Mary Yarbray, attended the Data Camp at Fermilab in July.
Another of our teachers, Jason Williamson, was selected to attend the Summer Academy
in Greece. Marj saw Mary at Fermilab in July, were she was very much enjoying the
program. Jason has promised to tell the rest of the group all about the trip to
Greece at our workshop next June.

Wayne State University, 11th year in QuarkNet

UIC Annual Report

Programming a Robotic Arm for Use in Mass Testing of Chips

Measuring I-V Curves of a 10 TOhm Resistor

Testing VCSELs Using an Array of Photodiodes

Setup and Testing of LArASIC in Liquid Nitrogen