UW–Madison QuarkNet Center 2016-2017 Annual Report

QuarkNet efforts at UW–Madison are led by the Wisconsin IceCube Astrophysics Center (WIPAC). Prof. Justin Vandenbroucke (co-PI) and Dr. Sílvia Bravo (co-PI) work together with several researchers from the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, the Distributed Electronic Cosmic-ray Observatory (DECO), and the desktop muon detector CosmicWatch.

The QuarkNet program @ WIPAC included three activities this year.

i) IceCube Masterclass at WIPAC, held on March 8 and 22 in Madison and in 14 other cities in the US and Europe. WIPAC led this fourth edition of the IceCube Masterclasses, which took place at fifteen different institutions with a total of more than 200 participants.

Budget considerations: No budget expenses are associated with this activity.

ii) HS student internship to develop data analysis tools for a multimessenger project based on IceCube and the DECO app. Students also built detectors and analyzed data for project CosmicWatch. Prof. Justin Vandenbroucke leads the DECO project, an app that turns your cell phone into a cosmic-ray detector. Dr. Sílvia Bravo leads efforts at WIPAC to introduce muon detectors designed by the MIT-led CosmicWatch project into research programs for learners of all ages. WIPAC postdoctoral researcher Josh Wood leads a team working on multimessenger astronomy, conducting research using joint data from IceCube and the FermiLAT telescope. We hosted a total of 5 students to work in these areas. All students built some CosmicWatch detectors, and two of them took the leadership in data analysis. Three students developed algorithms to automatically classify DECO events and add new data to the public page on DECO’s website, building on efforts of previous HS interns. Three students took the leadership on the multimessenger analysis and developed online tools to analyze published data sets from IceCube and FermiLAT.

Budget considerations: Students worked for up to six weeks with a stipend of $7.75 per hour. One of the students was co-sponsored by a Madison school district internship, and only three hours per day were supported by the QuarkNet budget.

iii) Astrophysics in the Classroom: We worked with two teachers in a series of research workshops to test and improve exercises that introduce IceCube research in the classroom. Participating teachers: Amanda Nothem and Jeff Paradis.

Budget considerations: The total amount for this activity was $1,200, or $600 per teacher.


UW–Madison QuarkNet Center

2016-2017 Budget




QuarkNet Funding

2017 IceCube Masterclass

Fourth Edition

Not Funded

HS internship for DECO and IceCube*

5 students, ~6 weeks

1 teacher



Astrophysics in the Classroom

2 teachers, 6 days