2014 Annual Report - Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Annual Report 2014                                                                   

Mentors: Tony Spadafora & Eric Linder


The LBNL Physics Division hosted its eighth “Physics In and Through Cosmology” workshop for QuarkNet Leadership teachers and high school students. The five day workshop, June 23 to June27, was held at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab.  Thirteen high school teachers participated. Eight of the teachers have been active members of QuarkNet for five or more years. Five new teachers joined the group this year.  The QuarkNet Teachers represented public and private high schools in the greater San Francisco Bay Area.  Also participating were 41 high school students and one UC Berkeley undergraduate student supported through the CalTeach (teacher preparation) program. 


The daily format consisted of a hands-on warm-up activity, followed by a presentation.  After the presentations, groups worked on hands-on experiments (e.g. QuarkNet acitivty lead by Ken Cecire using data from ATLAS and calculating Hubble’s constant lead by Sean Fottrell).  Groups also discussed the lecture and toured the following research facilities:  ALS, Molecular Foundry & 88” Cyclotron.  Students designed & carried out experiments with Cosmic Ray Detectors.  Each group consisted of four to five students and one teacher.  After lunch there was another presentation and group work.



The first day focused on getting all participants familiar with concepts & terms in particle physics & cosmology.  This was accomplished through “mini” lectures given by returning QuarkNet teachers & CalTeach student as well as through activities.

Formal presentations included:

Bryan Marten (returning QuarkNet teacher)            Formation of the elements

Damanjit Hundal  (CalTeach Student)                     Waves / BAO

Miles Chen  (returning QuarkNet teacher)               Distance Ladders

Natalie Roe  (director Physics Division)                  Welcome to the lab

Sean Fottrell  (returning QuarkNet teacher)             Gravity: Newtonian to General Relativity

Richard Piccioni (returning QuarkNet teacher)        Relativity & Standard Model

Ken Cecire     ( QuarkNet)                                        Quark Puzzle activity

Chang Hyon Ha  (LBL research Scientist)                Icecube- neutrinos for probing the universe

 Ken Cecire  (QuarkNet)                                            Quarknet activity   - ATLAS  data

Ian Hinchliffe   (LBL research Scientist)                   ATLAS - Higgs and other LHC Physics

Saul Perlmutter  (2011 Nobel Prize winner)              Drop by – talk about science research

Glen Melnik & Sean Fottrell (returning QuarkNet)   Introduction to detectors

Brian Hayden  (LBL research Scientist)                     Supernova cosmology and dark energy

Blake Sherwin  (LBL research Scientist)                    New CMB results

Freija Descamps  (LBL research Scientist)                 SNO on Neutrinos 

Carlos Faham  (LBL research Scientist)                      Dark Matter experiments                

Beth Reid   (LBL research Scientist)                           BOSS large scale structure

Eric Linder  (LBL research Scientist, QuarkNet Mentor)        Q & A session


Students took a pre & post self- evaluation of their knowledge of the concepts in the science standards & some additional concepts from particle physics & cosmology.  The scale was from 1 (none) to 5 (thorough).  The average gain was 1.42.  Concepts with greater than a 2 gain were:

      2.2  As something travels faster in space its length appears contracted.

      2.3 The intensity of light and gravity follow the inverse square law.

      2.3  Cosmology and Particle Physics

      2.3 Super Novea occur during certain large star’s life, serving as a standard candle.

      2.3 There are four fundamental forces which interact through carrier particles shaping the


      2.3  Neutrinos are produced by radioactive decay, in stars, accelerators, and reactors.

      2.3  Both matter & antimatter exist but the visible Universe is mainly matter.

      2.4  Quantum fluctuations in the CMB lead to stars, galaxies and clusters.

      2.4  Higgs bosons allow fundamental particles to have mass.

      2.5  Scientist use various techniques (Cosmic distance ladder) to determine distances in


      2.6  Quantum mechanics uses probabilities to describe subatomic particles.

      2.6  The Cosmic Microwave background is the baby picture of the Universe when matter

                      and energy decoupled.

      2.8  Scientist have proposed various theories such as super symmetry & extra dimensions, to

                       describe the Universe.

      2.9  Fermions follow the Pauli Exclusion Principle and make up matter.     

      3.0 Baryon acoustic oscillations are used as a standard ruler in cosmology