Making Tracks I
Students analyze tracks in a cloud chamber.
Students can “make” tracks in the sense of experiencing, analyzing, and understanding the tracks that particles make in cloud chambers and bubble chambers. These are old technologies. Current experimental particle physicists use complex detectors that handle the much higher rates of events and data from modern accelerators. However, cloud chambers and bubble chambers are uniquely visual, giving students a direct view of tracks that particles produce in a medium. This provides direct evidence that particles are passing around and through us all the time.
In Making Tracks I, students look at cloud chambers to see particle tracks appear and disappear before their eyes. Then, in Making Tracks II, they examine bubble chamber events to discover the behaviors and properties of particles. (Bubble chamber portion is based