2015 Annual Report - virtual QuarkNet
Virtual QuarkNet is a group of far flung, often isolated American high school science teachers from Boston and Atlanta, to the northwest coast of Washington, and Shanghai. Mentors Antonio Delgado and Dan Karmgard are assisted by lead teachers Mike Wadness and Dave Trapp. In the 2014-15 school year they held 10 monthly meetings via Sunday evening (Monday morning in Asia) video conference. Attendance varied from 6 to 8 with most meetings attended by 7 participants. Sessions typically lasted from an hour to 90 minutes. Several sessions had guest speakers and nearly all of them included discussions of the latest physics discoveries or theories.
Many of the group members have and use cosmic ray detectors at their school and most of the group also had high school students participate in the Masterclass.
The group also typically gathers for a couple days each summer at a site which offers new insights into physics. In early August 2015 the group gathered in Albuquerque and Los Alamos New Mexico with the crucial assistance of physicist Danielle McDermott. In New Mexico the group had the opportunity to visit and tour the Very Large Array (VLA) which has been detecting the faintest radio signals from near the time of the Big Bang. At Los Alamos, the group enjoyed a variety of talks that featured the history of Los Alamos, the use of bacteria to do work on a system, a connection between Faraday and the Higgs, and the Mars Curiosity Rover. In addition the group took advantage of the clear, high desert sky to do some spectacular star gazing facilitated by our resident astronomer Jim Small. The group ended its workshop with a visit to Bandelier National Monument to hike through the ancient pueblos. Thank you to our mentors and especially to Danielle McDermott for arranging a valuable summer workshop.