QuarkNet Annual Report 2017
The UF QuarkNet Center ran two workshops during the summer of 2017: one for 2 days in June and the second for 3 days in August. Between 8-10 local teachers participated, depending on the workshop. The first workshop, led by Ken Cecire of QuarkNet, reacquainted the teachers with the principles of particle physics. Prof. Acosta launched a new activity called the “Eightfold way”, which requires sorting similar particles by mass and charge to discover patterns and ultimately lead to the quark model. Other activities included “Rolling with Rutherford” and event display categorization and invariant mass analyses with LHC Open Data. Prof. Acosta gave a slideshow “virtual” tour of the facilities at CERN and of the CMS experiment on the second day.
The second workshop in August concentrated on coding and data analysis with Jupyter Notebooks (led by Adam Lee of UCF), tours of on-campus facilities (the Micro-Kelvin lab, the UF research nuclear reactor, and the UF Shands radiation oncology unit), and experiment data-taking in UF advanced physics lab. Each of the tours included 1-2 hours of introduction, tours, and Q&A. The teachers adapted the previous Eightfold Way activity into a classroom periodic table activity that they practiced at this workshop. On request by the teachers, Prof. Avery added a lecture on the sources of information about climate change that could be useful for Earth science courses. The physics lab experiments included measuring the cosmic ray muon distribution and the muon lifetime using a setup derived from an original QuarkNet lab, and measuring the spectra and lifetime of radioactive isotopes using a large NaI crystal. Nicely, one of the teachers graphed and analyzed the data using a Jupyter notebook, tying two activities together.