Notre Dame CMS Masterclass 2014

Welcome students and teachers!


This page will serve as your guide to the CMS Masterclass at Notre Dame. Please check it regularly, as it will be updated in the coming weeks.


Step 1: Preparation

You will have chances to prepare at school and at home for the masterclass. In school, you may do two or more of the following exercises:
  • Rolling with Rutherford, an activity to show how particle physicists use indirect measurements with accelerators to measure what we cannot see. It is based loosely on the famous Rutherford Scattering Experiment.
  • Quark Puzzle (instructions), which is meant to illustrate howe part of the Standard Model works to build nuclear particles from quarks.
  • Mass Calc Z, in which you use vector addition, conservation of energy, and conservation of momentum along with a little Einstein to figure the mass of the Z boson, a particle so short-lived that we cannot detect it directly. (We can detect the particles into which it decays...and that is our hook.) 
  • Top Quark Mass, which is similar to Mass Calc Z but enables you to find the mass of the even more elusive top quark.

Here are two web sites you can study at home that will help you prepare:

  • The Particle Adventure, an award-winning site that gives you the basics of particle physics in a way that is easy-to-follow and interesting.
  • The CMS Masterclass website - study the home page (nice videos!) and the WZH path page, since that is what you will do.

Rolling with Rutherford data table from Riley High School.

Rolling with Rutherford histogram from Science Alive.


Step 2: Begin

We will hold a session from about 9 am to 3 pm as part of the science education forum at Notre Dame on March 1. (Snacks and lunch provided!) Here is what we plan:

  • Presentation and practice to analyze actual CMS data yourself
  • lunch with physicists
  • Tour of Notre Dame particle accelerators (tentative) 
  • Digital Visualization Theatre show on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (tentative)

The Forum will be held in Jordan Hall at the University of Notre Dame. Register here!

Time Activity

08:30 AM

09:00 AM

10:00 AM

11:30 AM

12:00 PM

01:00 PM

02:10 PM

03:00 PM

arrive, light breakfast (Jordan lobby)

overview of CMS and masterclass (Jordan 411)

tour of ND accelerators (Niieuwland)

how to analyze CMS data (Jordan 411)

lunch (Jordan lobby)

data analysis assignments and practice (Jordan 411)

DVT show (Jordan DVT)

end of day

Watch this space for more details!


Step 3: Analyze Data at Home

After Step 2, you will have what you need to analyze the data online from home. You can do a little every day or get it all done in one sitting: you have 100 CMS events to analyze before March 20. 

You need:


Step 4: Videoconference 

On Thursday March 20, you are invited to the Notre Dame QuarkNet Center to finsh your masterclass project. Here is your tentative agenda:

09:30 am   arrive, eat doughnuts, chat

10:00 am   discuss your overall results with a Notre Dame particle physicist (spreadsheet)

11:00 am   videoconference with masterclass students at Biblioteca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypyt (indico page)

12:00 pm   all done!

Who ya gonna call? Contacts:

Ken Cecire

Dan Karmgard 


Groups audience: