Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics (SCIPP) at University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) QuarkNet Center
Submitted by kcecire
on Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 04:37
The Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics (SCIPP) is an organized research unit within the University of California system. SCIPP's scientific and technical staff are and have been involved in several cutting edge research projects for more than 25 years. The primary focus is experimental and theoretical particle physics and particle astrophysics, including the development of technologies needed to advance that research. SCIPP is also pursuing the application of those technologies to other scientific fields such as neuroscience and biomedicine. The Institute is recognized as a leader in the development of custom readout electronics and silicon micro-strip sensors for state-of-the-art particle detection systems.
Students, teachers, and physicists collaborating in QuarkNet.
In 2022-2023 we continued our outreach programs to regional high schools in central California. The QuarkNet Center programs were coordinated by faculty mentor Jason Nielsen and SCIPP Outreach Coordinator Laura Bakken, assisted by undergraduate intern Natalie Hultgren.
SCIPP (Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics) will be hosting a QuarkNet Masterclass where student participants get to be particle physicists for a day! The event will be held in-person and remotely, but in-person attendance is encouraged.
This year we welcomed a new Outreach Coordinator Laura Bakken, who helped plan and participate in the QuarkNet activities. She was assisted by Len Morales-Zaragoza.
Even though we have participated in Teacher Programs and the Particle Physics Masterclass in recent years, we were not able to host any activities this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are looking forward to launching new remote programs in 2020-2021.
Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics (SCIPP), University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC): Annual Report
The 2017 QuarkNet program at the Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics featured one main activity: the Particle Physics Masterclass for high school students.
Quarknet Masterclasses would be impossible to run without mentors assisting and leading the students. The class allows students to learn about particle physics at an early age by learning about it and putting it into action by analyzing actual data from the LHC and by sharing their results with other masterclasses.
To be a mentor, it will require your participation on the actual class day (March 17th) and an orientation at UCSC, which is highly recommended but not required (TBA).
To learn more about masterclasses and resources about the role of a mentor for this class, you can browse through the links below:
If you find this interesting, and would like to register to be a mentor, please fill out the registration form below so we can have your information:
Agenda for the Orientation on: TBA
2 PM - Introduction to Masterclass
- Objectives, Masterclass Library
- Masterclass Prep activities
2:30 PM - Overview of the ATLAS Z-Path Experiment
- Introduction and objectives
- Cheat sheet for Masterclass Day
3 PM- Testing Video Conference
- Test video link
- Discuss results
3:30 PM-4:00 PM- Wrap-up
- Plans for the actual class (Saturday March 18th)
SCIPP (Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics) will be hosting a hybrid in-person/remote QuarkNet Masterclass where students get to be particle physicists for a day!
As a student, you will gain insight into methods used in analyzing data for particle physics. The day will begin with an introduction to particle physics by particle physicists at SCIPP, who are directly involved with experiments at CERN. The students will then work in groups to analyze actual data from LHC (Large Hadron Collider) and later discuss their results with masterclasses being held around the world. They will be supervised the entire day by mentors trained to lead these classes and will provide assistance throughout.
This event was held and concluded on Saturday, March 5th, 2022.
Agenda for the day:
9:00AM (PST) - Introduction
9:15AM (PST) - Analysis techniques
Your mentors will teach you various methods of analyzing LHC data that will be useful in your future assignment.
10:00AM (PST) - Data Analysis and Particle Detector Demonstration
You will receive some LHC data and a task that you will solve with your group and with the help of mentors and facilitators.
11:30AM (PST) - Discussion and Evaluation of results
12:00PM (PST) - Lunch
1:00PM (PST) - Videoconference with FermiLab, UC Berkeley Participants
Discuss and share your analysis results with all other groups and mentors, who will provide you an evaluation on your projects.
2:00PM (PST) - End of Masterclass
This experiment sought to evaluate the effect of lead shielding on muon flux by placing numerous lead bricks between the scintillator detectors. By factoring in multiple variables, the experimenters were able to calculate the expected decrement and compare it to their experimental finding.
Question: Will muons be blocked by lead bricks? If some of them are, how much energy do they lose per layer of lead bricks? We spent the first two weeks planning how we would do an experiment to answer these questions. To learn about shielding effects on muons, we did background research and made estimates of how much energy muons would lose through x centimeters of lead using online sources. Then we were ready to start experimenting.
Setup: We put one muon detector on top of a table and three others on the floor. Then we stacked lead bricks on a platform above the floor detectors and below the table detector. We were using 4 detectors in order to make sure that each event that was recorded by the detectors was actually a muon and not an accident in the PMT (Photomultiplier Tube), which detects photons.
Results: As we hypothesized, the number of muons that made it through the lead was significantly less than the number of muons that reached the detectors when there was no lead. For only one layer of lead (5cm thick), we saw a 15% decrease in the flux rate, or the amount of muons hitting the detectors over time. When we added more layers, there were less dramatic decreases in the flux rate, indicating that the first layer of lead bricks must have knocked out a large portion of the total muon population, and that that large portion was on the low end of the muon energy spectrum.
C. Woods, K. Natividad, J. Rathmann-Bloch
This experiment sought to evaluate the speed of muons by placing scintillators apart and measuring how long of a delay existed between each individual scintillator's triggering. It used the Quarknet DAQ's high-precision clock to confirm trigger differences as low as 1.25 nanoseconds.
Cosmic rays from space penetrate the Earth's atmosphere, and upon interacting, produce pions and kaons, which then decay into muons and other particles. We can detect these muons at the Earth's surface using scintillators and photo-multiplier tubes. Because the muons have vastly different energies, we initially thought that there might be an interesting distribution of their speeds. However, after conducting some background research, we realized that the energy differences we would see had little to no effect on the speed. We placed two detectors seven feet apart vertically and used four-fold coincidences to measure the time difference between the top and bottom detectors. The muons we detected were all traveling extremely close to the speed of light, approximately one foot per nanosecond, thus confirming our hypothesis.
This experiment sought to evaluate the impact of the solar wind on the amount of muons coming in by correlating the rate of muon flux detected in a Quarknet 6000-series Scintillator detector with a) the natural day-night cycle an b) the dynamic solar wind data from NASA's SOHO satellite.
Using two different experimental setups (each running for 64 hours), the experimenter observed no statistically significant correlation between the day-night cycle and the rate of muon flux. He did, however, observe a seemingly statistically significant positive correlation between the muon flux and the real-time solar wind data; nevertheless, that correlation was neither linear nor completely supported by the data. On the setup with the detectors stacked atop one another and pointing directly up at the sky, a stronger visual correlation was observed (71% of data points within one standard deviation; 94% within two). When the Pearson Equation was used to find a correlation, it gave a value of about 0.44 (2 significant figures), which shows a mild positive correlation. On the setup with the detectors separated by a box and pointed toward the ecliptic, the visual correlation was not well shown (65% within one standard deviation; 88% within two). The Pearson value on the second data run showed a very, very weak negative correlation of -0.12.
Thus, this experiment showed no visible correlation between the day/night cycle and the muon flux. Using all four detectors stacked directly atop one another, it showed a mild positive correlation between the solar wind density and the measured muon flux. Using all four detectors, pointed toward the ecliptic, with a box in between them, the experiment showed no statistically significant correlation.