Report on 2017 Summer Workshop

Virtual QuarkNet Center Visit:  Brookhaven National Laboratory:  Physics Department

 Host: Helio Takai         Meeting Room 2-84 ,Physics Building,:   August 7-9, 2017

August 7, 2017 am

Antonio:  CERN update accelerator started in May.  Next year, there will be a 2-3 year shut down to fix the detector.  CERN has the coldest place in the Universe.  -2.7 C with liquid Helium.  the silicon trackers are currently fried from the high energy, so the 2-3 year shut down to replace parts.  so the LHC will not take data in 2019 ir 2020.  there will be a high luminosity upgrade in 2024, much farther away.  when the LHC was approved in 1989 the technology of the super conducting quadripole magnets was not invented yet.  so there are plans at CERN 40-50 years out .  They are looking to discover a way for the neutrinos not to create a background problem at higher energy.

CPT        T2K,  charge, parity, time.

weak interaction violates parity.  all electrons were left handed polarized. 0 momentum. active neutrinos are only left handed,

cp violation produces more matter than antimatter. 

solar neutrinos change flavor on their way to us from the sun.  quarks also to mutate and oscillatate.  We may have seen a situation that shows hints of universaility  violations

this decay should be produced in a one to one ration should be chose to 1 to 1 ratio, but it is being violated by 25%.

August 7, 2017 pm

Bs (p subshell) meson decaying to mu+ mu-

                                                                                          +/-  1

bs  (s subshell) meson decaying to e+ e- 

LHC sometimes runs in heavy ion mode. collides gold (RICK) or lead (ALEES).  the study is to see what happens when you put lots of quarks and gluons together. qcd studies show it is not a normal proton and neutron plasma, but it produces a quark and gluon plasma soup. 

Danielle:  What is condensed matter?

Wadness:  masterclass overview started today will continue tomorrow

August 8, 2017 am

am: CMS masterclass overview from Wadness, go through activities that are precursors to masterclass.  Do the mini masterclass activities.

Practice at I-spy and data set organization w histogram on CIMA collection system.

Presentation from Brookhaven teacher group and their experiences/insights with master class.

Presentation from:  Steve Bellavia: The LSST   the power point for this presentation has been made available on the Virtual page.

worlds largest survey telescope, mountain in chile 7000 feet

R = 1.2197 lambda/2A  R is resolution  of smaller objects.  So as aperature is larger in the denominator the resolution decreases to be able to resolve (see clearly) a smaller object.

largest lens ever built largest camera ever built.  focal plane =-100C  ;  electronic boards -40C

this telescope is looking for objects very far away, and looking at the milky way or moon would be too bright and damage the sensitive photocells.

mirrors and lens’ are being produced in the lab under the football field at the University of Arizona.  Many of the large mirrors and lens’ at astronomies across the globe are made here.

 24th magnitude of a single exposure. 

what is lsst going to study? takes snapshots very quickly and covers 1/2 the sky in 3 days.

dark matter, dark energy, supernovae, mapping the milky way (will detect about 10 billion stars), near earth objects (neo).

1998 congress mandates discovery of 90% of all neo > 1000 m in diameter by 2008.  and more

August 8, 2017 pm

Atlas project presentation by Helio Takai

Majority of nuclei coming to earth from outside universe are protons, but they react in our atmosphere and cause showers of particles.  Many pions are produced because they are light and easy to produce.  P zeros produce showers of electrons.  they also dcay to muons then electrons.  detectors are located in mamy places, underground labs, fluorescence detector above ground, ground array of large scintillators, under water or ice, balloons, mariachi project thought that muons could be detected using high energy radar, the telescope was built to detect a muon hit in a high school. 2008 to 2016, it showed more muons in winter contraction of atmosphere makes muons take longer to decay.  the small dips in max pattern can be linked to cme timing within the time of the month.  You can also overlay the data on the atmospheric pressure at specific time of year.  also connected to atmospheric tides of air flow based on warming earth with sunrise. day vs night.  more muons at night and in July.  Data stability and reliability needs a large area array to be visible and data collected year round.

During our time at Brookhaven, we were in the right place at the right time for a special lecture presentation.  Brief outline notes are below.

Sambamurti  Memorial Lecture August 7, 2017

Searching for new parti9cles at the LHC:  CMS Jim Hirschauer   nothing has yet been found smaller than a quark.

success of standard model:  discovery of higgs boson  2012

properties of higgs boson            collect data into 2030

test standard model at high energy                         complete…. sort of

precisely measure properties of sm particles

looking for new particles

particle masses

13 TeV

why use high energy collisions

the collider is like a giant microscope

spatial resolution is limited by wavelength of probe.

each proton has 6.5 Tev of energy but the individual energy of the quarks and gluons inside are unknown.

next goal; discover something new.

standard model (sm) has a few problems

dark matter is not described in sm

theoretical concerns with the calculation of the higgs boson mass

sm does not explain its own structure, it is not as cohesive for example as the periodic table of elements.  The sm is not nearly as elegant and insightful.

planck satellite measured the difference for mass based on rotation.  we know there must be dark ,matter in the center.

supersymetry particles SUSY. gluon has a SUSY particle called Gluino   neutrino has a SUSY partner called neutralino

theorists are trying to connect the potential ability to produce those with a low producton rate.

the gluino may be too heavy too see.  Low production rate of susy particles.  

August 9, 2017 am

Tesla Museum and site experience.  Historical artifacts and sequence of experimental results.  Very interesting presentation by Rich Gearns of Brookhaven.

The Speed of Muons from Different Angles: Looking at a Different Angle

The Speed of Muons from Different Angles: Looking at a Different Angle

Subrai Burkhalter (Detroit School of the Arts), Rachel Kirichu (International Academy East)

Mike Niedballa (WSU)  

Rob Harr (WSU)

   The purpose of our research is to discover if muons being detected at different angles move at different speeds. This research is an addition to a previous Quarknet study of the same title to better confirm, or disprove, the former data. To do this we aligned four muon detectors (the farthest apart being 2.145 meters) and ran time of flight studies with a coincidence of four to determine the average speed of muons at different angles 15 degrees apart (starting from 15 degrees to the surface to 75 degrees to the surface).

We infer from our research that as the detectors angle was closer to the surface, the faster on average the muons were traveling. This is the exact opposite conclusion from the Quarknet study before us, therefore more studies are needed to confirm which conclusion is accurate. 

The Effect Of Sand On Muon Flux

The Effect Of Sand On Muon Flux

Kaitlyn Proffitt (Eisenhower High School/Utica Center for Mathematics, Science, and Technology), Khaliah Spoljaric (Robichaud High School)

Mike Niedballa (Wayne State)

Rob Harr (Wayne State)

The purpose of our research was to study the effect of different heights of sand on muon flux. We aimed to simulate the behavior of muons once they traveled below ground level. We started the study with four muon detector paddles. We placed paddles 1 and 2 stacked on top of each other on the top shelf of a 1.180 meter tall shelving unit. Paddles 3 and 4 were also stacked on top of each other and were placed on the ground directly beneath the first two paddles under the shelving unit. We ran seven trials, one trial without any sand bags between the muon paddles and six trials adding an additional bag of sand each time. The height of each bag of sand was an average of 0.100m. Flux was recorded at ten minute intervals. The trials would run for time periods varying in length from six hours to sixty-five hours, due to time constraints. For each trial, we ran a flux study, each with a coincidence level of four. Our data showed a negatively linear relationship between muon flux and height of sand with a line of best fit of y = -44.685x +199.9, showing that an increased height of sand does decrease muon flux. If our projection is correct, there would be no muon flux at a depth of approximately 4.5 meters below the surface. If sensitive scientific research or medical needs required an area free of cosmic radiation, creating a lab or office below this depth could be a solution, effectively shielding against muons. Further data collection would yield more accurate results.




The Effect of Water Depth on Time of Flight of Cosmic Ray Muons

The Effect of Water Depth on Time of Flight of Cosmic Ray Muons 
Deven Misra (Canton High School), Max Tomaszewski (Eisenhower High School) 
Michael Niedballa (Wayne State University) 
Robert Harr (Wayne State University) 
In our experiment, we attempted to establish a link between the depth of water which a muon passes through, and the time it takes that muon to travel between two detectors. We accomplished this by placing bins of water between two cosmic ray detectors and measuring the time of flight of muons passing through both detectors. The results of our experiment were inconclusive in that we did not find a precise correlation between depth of water and time of flight, but we did determine that the water did increase the time of flight to varying degrees. While we were unable to find an exact correlation, we believe that the connection between water depth and time of flight can be quantified, and reflects an inverse relationship between the two variables. This establishes that muons are, in fact, affected by the materials which they pass through in some capacity, with water appearing to have a significant effect.

The Effect of the Thickness of Aluminum on the Speed of Muons

The Effect of the Thickness of Aluminum on the Speed of Muons

Nathan Frazier (Cousino High School/ MMSTC), Seth Hall (International Academy of Macomb)

Mike Niedballa (Wayne State University)

Gil Paz (Wayne State University)



            The purpose of this experiment was to test the effect that different thicknesses of aluminum would play on the speed of muons. Prior experiments proved that with more aluminum shielding the flux of muons will decrease. Our experiment furthers this research. It is hypothesized that the thicker the aluminum is between the paddles, the slower the muons will travel.



            The method to this experiment is to run a time of flight study on the muons. The coincidence was set to two paddles one on top and one on the bottom (2.2 meters apart). First control data was collected without aluminum between the paddles. We then placed 77mm of aluminum between the paddles and collected data. Next 123mm, 225mm, and 300mm of aluminum were all placed between the paddles. Each collection of data was ran for at least 4 hours. The average time a muon was calculated given the certain amount of aluminum between the paddles. Our data from each thickness trial was graphed and a regression was fit to the data with the slope being the speed.





            Our data shows a direct relationship between the thickness of aluminum and the speed lost. There are some points that are far from the line but the r squared value is close to 1 so are data does fit the line of regression well.


Meaning of Data


            Our data shows that there is a difference in speeds between the different thicknesses of aluminum because our p value of 0.0518 is so close to our alpha level of 0.05. Since we determined that there is a strong chance of the speeds being different, we ran some linear regression t-tests (one with the difference in speeds and one with the percent of the speed of light). The p-values for these two tests are both roughly 0.00674 which is less than the alpha level, so we can reject our null hypothesizes that there is no strong linear correlation. The slopes of these regression lines told us that, on average, for every millimeter of aluminum added the muons will slow 64525.5 m/s or 0.02% the speed of light. Since there was a difference in the speeds and it did follow a linear model, we accepted our hypothesis.


Suggestions for further Research


In future studies we can use bigger thicknesses to see if this linear trend continues and we can also try different materials to see if they slow down the muons at different rates.


Measuring Muon Flux as a Dependent on Barometric Pressure

Measuring Muon Flux as a Dependent on Barometric Pressure 
Bryan Wegrzyn (Henry Ford II High School), Ian Homsy (University Liggett School)  
Mike Niedballa (Wayne State University) 
Gil Paz (Wayne State University) 
The purpose of our research is to determine whether muon flux is affected by 
change in barometric pressure. We chose to do this experiment after we couldn’t find 
many papers about it on the Cosmic e-lab website and after realizing that the Data 
Acquisition Board (DAQ) had a built in barometer. We hypothesized that as we saw the 
pressure go up, we would see the rate of muon flux go down. We theorised this as 
higher air pressure is associated with higher air density which would cause more muons 
to hit particles in the air. We set up the experiment by first stacking two counters right on 
top of one another. The barometer on the DAQ was then calibrated and testing began. 
We usually ran tests twice a day, once from morning till evening and then another 
overnight. In all we collected 644 data points of flux recordings which were taken every 
ten minutes. We then synced the data points from the flux test with the blessing chart of 
the barometric pressure and documented them in a spreadsheet.
Graphing these points we came up with an equation of y=-1.375x+10119 with an R​2​ value of 0.0018.
While the negative slope agreed with our prediction, we weren’t certain our data was signifcant. 
An ANOVA test was then done to look at variance among the flux at each barometric 
pressure recorded. This test returned a p value of 0.376 and an F and critical F of 1.08 
and 1.80 respectively. Because the p value was higher the set value of 0.05 and the F 
was smaller than the critical F, we concluded that our study yielded no significant 
relationship between flux and barometric pressure. This, however does not mean that 
there isn’t one. If further time was allotted it would be possible to collect even more data 
points and to track a greater range of pressures allowing for a more full look into the 
possibility of a relationship. 

The Effect of Aluminum Shielding on Cosmic Ray Muon Flux

The Effect of Aluminum Shielding on Cosmic Ray Muon Flux

Adam Ross (De La Salle Collegiate High School), Jill  Schell (Macomb Mathematics Science Technology Center)

Mike Niedballa (Wayne State University)

Dr. Gil Paz (Wayne State University)


            The experiment was performed to determine the effect of various thicknesses of aluminum as a shield against cosmic ray muons. This test added to and expanded on research done that shows the effect of other metals as shields against the same rays. This study was conducted using four cosmic ray muon detectors set up in pairs, with each pair one meter apart. Multiple trials were conducted, gradually increasing the amount of aluminum between the pairs of detectors. After running multiple tests, the value of the flux had a clear but small decrease as the thickness of aluminum was increased. Also, the amount of aluminum was shown to have a decreasing linear relationship with the muon flux. With the data that was collected, the researchers were able to conclude that the greater amount of aluminum present, the smaller the muon flux. This finding also leads to the conclusion that aluminum can act as a weak shield against the cosmic ray muons. This research could be furthered with greater quantities of aluminum to determine, with greater accuracy, when the flux would near zero. Also, this research, combined with outside research about the shielding effects of other materials and metals, could create a better understanding of the effect of density on muon shielding, and help better determine which material has the greatest shielding effect, and for what reasons shielding is effective.

The Effect of Water Depth on Muon Flux

The Effect of Water Depth on Muon Flux

Grace Gutierrez (Roosevelt High School), Finsam Samson (Troy High School)

Mike Niedballa (Wayne State University)

Gil Paz (Wayne State University)



This study was conducted to analyze the effect of water depth on muon flux. It built upon other research in this field, using larger scales of depth than was done in previous studies. Our hypothesis is that increasing the depth of the water that muons have to travel through will decrease the flux of the muons at the bottom, as the muons can be slowed and stopped by interacting with water molecules.



In this study, 3 large plastic bins with a maximum depth of 26 centimeters each were used. Four detector plates set in a column with a four-fold coincidence were used with these bins. The arrangement of these were as so (from top to bottom): plate, bin, plate, bin, plate, plate. Plateauing was conducted at first, and the four detector plates were calibrated accordingly. The study began with a control of 0 centimeter depth, and increased by 10 centimeters with every flux study conducted, until 70 centimeters. Two flux studies were run every day, with data collection running for at least 4 hours in each study.



              Our data shows an inverse relationship between muon flux and water depth. However, this relationship becomes unclear after .30 meters of water depth. The uncertainty is also graphed above. The depth of .40 meters had an uncertainty significantly larger than that of the other depths. One possible reason for this could be a power outage that occurred on the day that data was collected, as well as in subsequent days.


Meaning of the Data

              The collected data does support our hypothesis. In the first half of the experiment, muon flux decreased as depth increased, with low uncertainties. However, high uncertainties in the latter half of the experiment led to unclear results beyond .40 meters of depth.


Suggestions for Further Experimentation

              In future studies, efforts can be made to accurately collect the data from high values of depth. This is because it is unclear whether the relationship between muon flux and water depth is linear or exponential (decay). Additionally, other liquids could be tested as shielding to research the properties of substances that shield muons.


The Speed of Muons from Different Angles

The Speed of Muons from Different Angles

Anna Citko (Groves High School), Genevieve Yarema (Grosse Pointe South High School)

Mike Niedballa (Wayne State University)

Gil Paz (Wayne State University)


Cosmic rays are particles (mostly protons) that come from space and are traveling near the speed of light. When these particles enter our atmosphere, they can collide with atmospheric gases and shatter into many other particles, including muons, the focus of our study. When the particle shatters, the products can go in all different directions. We wanted to figure out if muons coming down perpendicular to the surface of the earth maintain more of their speed than muons coming in at an angle. We tested this by placing 4 muon detector paddles in a telescope which we were able to tilt at different angles. We took data at at vertical, 45 degrees, and horizontal angles and used a time of flight study with a coincidence of 4 to determine the speed of the muons from each angle. We found that muons are coming in at a slower speed at an angle than they are vertically, but we were limited in how much data we were able to collect, so further studies may be needed.


Lifetime of Muons and the Detector’s Orientation

Andrew Du (Cranbrook High), Mason Hinawi (Crestwood High)

Mike Niedballla (Wayne State University)

Gil Paz (Wayne State University)


The purpose of this lab is to investigate muons and find the best way to study muon lifetime with the Quarknet cosmic ray muon detector. We were specifically trying to determine which orientation would provide the most data in the least amount of time. There are three different orientations that we tested: lying flat horizontally, standing vertically on the long edge, and standing vertically on the short edge. We found substantial data correlating the position and amount of decays. Since our results show standing the detector up on its short edge allows for significant improvement this could be the new standard procedure for future QuarkNet students studying lifetime decay.