2018 Annual Report

Rice University/University of Houston 2018 Annual Report

In the past academic year, the QuarkNet program in the Greater Houston Area has seen two major events: a CMS master class and a one-week workshop. Both were held on the Rice campus.

On Saturday March 24, we organized a CMS master class. We had a total of 6 students and 2 high school teachers attend. The master class involved introductory lectures on particle physics and the physics of particle detectors with a focus on those techniques used in the CMS experiment at the LHC. The lectures were interspersed with hands-on demos such as the famous "particle deck of cards" and a tour of the undergraduate upper division lab where Rice undergraduates had set up an experiment to measure the life time of muons. Rice's department of Physics & Astronomy kindly provided lunches for all participants, after which the students together with Dr. Geurts and his graduate student did some hands-on analysis of real data from the CMS detector. This was then followed by a video conference with Fermilab and two other institutes during which we discussed our results.

In the week of June 25-29, the Rice hosted the annual QuarkNet teacher workshop. Twelve high school teachers from several Houston area high schools participate. QuarkNet staff Shane Wood joined us for the first four days during which we covered two 2-day workshops: the Neutrino Data Workshop and the CMS Data Workshop. For the first workshop, Prof. Geurts gave a presentation on the physics of neutrons. Dr. Rorie, a postdoctoral fellow at Rice, gave a very nice presentation on the CMS detector and some of the physics that he is working on.

In addition to these outreach events to high school students and teachers in the Greater Houston area, Geurts also participated in a demo of the QuarkNet CMS Data workshop at the 27th international conference on ultra relativistic nucleus-nucleus collisions (also known as Quark Matter, with an attendance of more than 800 scientists and students) held in Venice (Italy) in the week of May 13-19. Together with Yiota Foka a number of outreach activities, including QuarkNet's CMS data analysis, were advertised during the student sessions and later demoed during coffee breaks.

Meanwhile, Geurts continues to discuss with his counterparts at the University of Houston to see how some of the high-energy nuclear science could be turned into a future QuarkNet workshop and/or master class. 

Mentor: Frank Geurts