2013 Annual Report - SMU

Southern Methodist University – The SMU Particle Physics Group in Dedman College sponsored its annual QuarkNet activities this summer for local high school physics teachers and students. The week of August 5-9, 2013 held the workshop, an event organized annually since 2001, and new this year was a summer-long research project carried out by the students. This year there were 18 teachers and 10 students from Dallas area public and private schools.

During the workshop, teachers heard talks from SMU and UT Arlington professors on particle accelerators and detectors. Prof. Joe Izen presented by video-link from his CERN lab where his group is updating the pixel detector of the LHC. Prof. Ryszard Stroynowski gave a particle physics introduction during the CMS e-lab mini-workshop, during which QuarkNet LHC Fellow Shane Wood spend 2 days familiarizing the teachers with this source of real LHC data for use in the classroom. Teachers also constructed and tested with cosmic rays and radioactive sources their own simple cloud chamber using an upturned fish tank. They also went on a half-day field trip to the crystallography lab and radiology lab at UT Southwestern to see the medical applications of particle physics. Teachers Darren Carollo, Bruce Boehne, Valerie Thomas, and Evelyn Restivo presented on their summer research activities, and teacher Janee Hall presented on the Dark Matter research work she did with SMU Professor Jodi Cooley during the summer.

8 high school students supervised by teacher Trina Cannon spent the summer doing research in the SMU Physics Department’s Opto-Electronics lab. Working with physicists Datao Gong, Tiankuan Liu, and Chu Xiang, the students tested commercial and customized photonic components for potential use in the optical data link updates in the ATLAS LAr Calorimeter. Every week, the students participated in the lab group meeting to report on their learning and test findings. Each gave a short talk to the SMU faculty and to the QuarkNet teachers during the workshop. We expect their project results to be publishable.

Website:  www.physics.smu.edu/sdalley/quarknet

The coordinator is Dr. Simon Dalley, assisted by other faculty mentors Fred Olness and Randy Scalise, and SMU physics department members Rick Guarino, Farley Ferrante, Carol Carroll, and Shirley Melton, and Michael Esailli.