Friday Flyer on Tuesday - January 19, 2021

Spotlight on Randy Ruchti

Once upon a time, a few folks decided that what the particle physics community in the U.S. needed was an outreach and education program that can directly engage high school physics teachers in professional development to bring authentic scientific investigations to their students. One of these founders of QuarkNet was Randy Ruchti of the University of Notre Dame.

Randy became interested in particle physics early from a 1964 Scientific American article on the eightfold way but decided to become a particle physicist when he had the opportunity to do research at Argonne National Lab. In 1997, Randy joined the physics faculty at Notre Dame, doing reserch on DZero at Fermilab and, later, CMS at CERN. By 1998, it became clear that education and outreach would be very important to the future of the field and the work began. Randy and Marge Bardeen teamed up to coin the name "QuarkNet." Marge writes of her fellow original QuarkNet PI: "It has been such a pleasure to work with Randy. He is the consummate educator. I remember an anecdote about walking with his young grandsons and using mailboxes to practice numbers. He finds a teachable moment in any moment!"

Since then, Randy has worked with the Notre Dame QuarkNet Center and was a PI of the national program until he moved for several years to NSF. Just about everyone in QuarkNet enjoyed his talks or, even better, his wide-ranging and fascinating answers to questions posed during work or over dinner. Randy continues work on CMS and particle detector design. And he still offers those teachable moments. Check out the video below that Randy made for the South Bend-area public science exhibition Science Alive (virtual this year). It is vintage Randy.

Randy Ruchti's video for Science Alive 2021 featuring his visual cosmic ray detector and its use in a CERN heavy ion beamline.


News from QuarkNet Central

There is still time to register for International Masterclasses via e-mail to Ken or Uta. QuarkNet masterclass leaders—mentors or lead teachers—can find schedule information at Videoconferences 2021. You can learn about registration, online masterclasses, and more in the latest IMC 2021 circular; circulars now come out every Friday. 

QuarkNet Educational Discussions (QED) will begin on Wednesday, January 27. More info soon!

Beamline for Schools 2021 is on! Get basic information and a registration link in the announcement, and find more resources at the Useful Documents page.



Physics Experiment Roundup

CMS fans, we have news for you! First: Is it a quark or is it a lepton? What if it is both and neither—a leptoquark? Well CMS is searching for these elusive theoretical particles and last month set new bounds on their masses, according to CERN Bulletin. Also in CB: This month the CMS collaboration released its first open data from heavy ion collisions. In physicsworld, CMS physicist and former QuarkNet Advisory Board member Dave Barney explains the new CMS calorimeters on a personal level.

Speaking of open data, Interactions reports that the Dark Energy Survey has released its catalog of over 700 million astronomical objects.




Heard about supersymmetry lately? Well, symmetry gives a super review of its status. To reacquaint ourselves a bit more, here is a Subatonic Stories video by Don Lincoln, Is supersymmetry real?, and a podcast clip in which Jim Gates explains supersymmetry with his hallmark clarity. And since discusssions of supersymmetry often lead to discussions of string theory, here is a somewhat whimsical String Theory Explained - What is the True Nature of Reality? by Kurzgesagt




Just for Fun

Physics Girl has some videos for these times: one with 20 easy home experiments in 5 minutes and another with 5 life hacks based on science. And since we are on videos, our own Jeremy Wegner made this one for Science Alive.



We hope you had a very good Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Here are some of Dr. King's thoughts that pertain to our work:

“Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge, which is power; religion gives man wisdom, which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals.”

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”




QuarkNet Staff:
Mark Adams: [email protected]  
Ken Cecire: [email protected]
Spencer Pasero: [email protected] 
Shane Wood: [email protected] 

Additional Contacts