Rutgers University QuarkNet Center
Submitted by kcecire
on Sunday, July 7, 2013 - 23:00
The Rutgers University QuarkNet Center is one of the oldest in QuarkNet. Teachers from all over New Jersey. work together in thei unique Rutgers cosmic ray program and bring particle physics concepts to the classroom.
New Jersey teachers explore CMS, particle physics, cosmic rays, and more.
This report summarizes the Rutgers QuarkNet Workshop held from July 7 to July 18. Professors Amit Lath, Eva Halkiadakis, Yuri Gershtein and Steve Schnetzer of the Rutgers high energy particle physics group hosted the session. It was attended by twenty students and four high school teachers from New Jersey.
The workshop consisted of multiple activities for the students that kept all of them interested and engaged. There were six three-‐hour sessions organized by Prof. Lath and Halkiadakis in which the students learned to analyze actual data from CMS, calculate invariant masses and use Root to discover the Z boson by its di-‐muon mass peak and the Higgs boson by its di-‐photon mass peak. In these sessions, the students worked in groups of three to four.
There were also four three-‐hour sessions in which the students used
QuarkNet supplied cosmic ray detectors to measure the muon lifetime and the speed of cosmic ray muons and thereby demonstrate relativistic time dilation. In these sessions the students also worked in groups of three to four. Prof. Schnetzer gave a set of four presentations on relativity to the group of rapt students (see photo above). The students spent a day learning about the 20 MeV Cyclotron in the Rutgers senior lab from Prof. Tim Koeth of the University of Maryland and were able to operate the cyclotron and conduct some simple experiments with the beam. There were a series of lunch time talks giving by various Rutgers faculty covering astrophysics and cosmology, condensed matter physics, neutrino oscillations and LHC physics. One of the teachers, Daniel Kaplan, told the students about work that he had done in Rutherford Back Scattering. The students visited the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and also toured the state-‐of-‐the-‐art Rutgers Surface Science Lab. At the end of the workshop, each group of three to four students gave a ten minute presentation on some aspect of what they had learned during the workshop. On the last day of the workshop, we had a showing of the movie Particle Fever and, of course, pizza.
Everyone involved in the workshop (teachers, students and mentors) considered it to be a great success. The students appreciated learning how to use the actual tools used by researchers and received an in-‐depth look at what physics research is really about.
I thought the overview was a bit over the heads of the students and made the students uncomfortable. At this point some students might have been frustrated because they were looking forward to a two week program in which they would feel lost. As the week unfolded, this was addressed.
Rolling with Rutherford
A great way to approach the concept of measuring something indirectly. The statistical nature of the outcome and ensuing class discussion were key.
Calculate the Z-mass
In the past I have tried using the Top Quark measurement with my class as a review of momentum and vectors. This is more direct and less onerous. I will be using this in the upcoming school year.
Fermilab Virtual Visit
This was very helpful for the programs. The students were highly engaged.
CMS W/Z measurement
This was a great activity the really gave the students an overview of the particle physics process. I need to get the tools to allow me to run this in my class..
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