2014 Annual Report - U Cincinnati


UC QuarkNet Annual Report Information

September, 2014

The QuarkNet Associate Teacher Institute at the University of Cincinnati conducted its 11th annual workshop from Jun 21-25, 2012.  This year’s workshop included six teachers. The six associate teachers were from various schools in our tri-state area, including suburban, private, and Catholic schools. Teacher learned about the new online tools and program to use with the cosmic ray detectors. Teachers learned to use EQUIP along with setting up a benchmark for analysis and blessing of data. Teachers conducted an extensive experiment comparing the cosmic ray flux rate through various levels of ceiling material by conducting the study at 15 floor Crosley tower. There were challenges trying to get a location for the four detectors and GPS signal on the various levels of the tower.

A 6 count/min/floor difference was found but more data should be taken. A detailed look at the advantages of EQUIP and the continual need for use of the Cosmic ray elab was also completed. Teachers also completed the analysis of the new LHCb Materclass program activities ending with a videoconference between the group and Mike Sokoloff at CERN. Lead by UC professor Alex Sousa, a day was also devoted to everything neutrino. Teachers analyzed neutrino decays with NOVA data and discussed possible applications for a future masterclass-like program or classroom use.

To coincide with CERN’s 60th anniversary this year, the laboratory launched the beam line for schools competition. Teachers and students from three of the schools collaborated to join the competition and produce a proposal. Of the 292 proposals submitted for the International CERN competition, the group was one of 16 given the status of highly commended. 

Watch the video: 


The group will be entering their proposal at the Fermilab test beam facility for a test hopefully next summer.  
Earlier in the year, two high schools participated in the US MasterClass at The University of Cincinnati. Sixteen physics students, along with their teacher Jeff Rodriguez, came from Anderson High School, while twelve physics students came from McAuley High School with their teacher Lisa Nissen. We were one of the few schools to work on the new LHCb masterclass. The event analysis was similar but had interesting differences. Besides analyzing event pictures for particle decays and tagging, teachers were able to make cuts on data to determine the lifetime of the D0.They used Skype to analyze the events and to conference with mentors at their school locations prior to MasterClass Day. 
Two teachers participated in the QuarkNet Data camp held at Fermilab from July 21st -25th. This included a rigorous analysis of dilepton decays from various channels, engaging speakers, tours of the Wilson hall, D0, MINOS, and the labs. Teachers also discussed applying various QuarkNet developed activities for the classroom. It was an excellent opportunity to collaborate on using QuarkNet teacher materials and teaching modern physics concepts in the classroom.
Four high school students, along with QuarkNet teacher David Whittington, completed a 6 week internship working on a research project at University of Cincinnati. Two high school juniors and one high school senior were from a suburban public school and one high school junior from a Catholic high school. 
The overall purpose of the research was to analyze data from decay chains from the LHCb experiment at CERN and to familiarize themselves with the reconstruction software and layers of detectors. After completing a tutorial of ROOT, a C++ based particle physics data analysis program that was used throughout the research, they began to work with packages of ntuples from the LHCb experiment. They learned to reduce backgrounds and were able to see how "clean" the signals were. Students considered and implemented “cuts” to remove unwanted background events and fit plots. 
The group analyzed Ds+K- K+ + and found both Ds+ and D+ decaying into both φ(1020) and K* (892) resonances. The Ds+ and D+masses were measured at 1969.736 ±0.017 MeV and 1870.691 ±0.025 MeV, respectively. 
Two of the students had a very nice signal for a Xi_b^0 decay to Xi-,J/psi,pi+.  They presented their results to the appropriate LHCb working group. The Xi_b^0 has been observed in another decay channel by the CDF experiment, but never before in this decay channel. It made a really exciting conclusion to the formal program as they saw it clearly for the first time the last Friday afternoon. 
Two of the students have continued working on this since the end of the summer program.  They will be authors when the paper is published.