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.
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.
2014 QuarkNet Activities at SCIPP/UC Santa Cruz
(A QuarkNet Center since inception)
The 2014 program focused on our flagship activity, the QuarkNet Summer High School Student Internship Program. The Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics at the University of California, Santa Cruz continues a tradition of strong support for the QuarkNet program, providing administrative support (Vicki Johnson and Tanmayi Sai) and additional funding to enable the activities.
QuarkNet High School Internship
The High School Internship, July 7 – August 1, brought an outstanding group of six students from schools located in the Santa Cruz and Silicon Valley area to work full time on the QuarkNet cosmic ray muon detectors. Research teacher Stuart Briber, who has been with the UCSC QuarkNet center for many years, led the students again in their four-week program. Faculty member and SCIPP Associate Director Jason Nielsen served as faculty mentor. UCSC physics graduate student Brendan Wells also volunteered large amounts of his time to help mentor the students.
The summer interns developed three experiments using the CRMD’s. The first experiment evaluated the impact of the solar wind on the muon flux at the earth’s surface. This data analysis required correlating the CMRD flux with data from NASA’s SOHO satellite. The second experiment used the high-precision CRMD clock to measure the muon velocities in cosmic rays. The students performing this experiment learned a great deal about the CRMD timing system and output. The third experiment investigated the effect of lead shielding on the measured muon flux. All of the interns produced and presented oral final reports on the design and results of their experiments. The final presentations were attended by SCIPP faculty and staff as well as parents.
An important feature of our summer program is the strong involvement of SCIPP faculty and researchers. Students learned about a wide range of particle physics topics in a small-group seminar format. The following UCSC/SCIPP faculty and staff worked with students in the small-group discussion sessions: David Smith (terrestrial gamma-ray Flashes), Jason Nielsen (Higgs boson discovery at the LHC), Ryan Reece (cosmic rays and special relativity), David Williams (ground-based gamma-ray astrophysics), Bill Atwood (gamma rays in astrophysics), Joel Primack (galactic simulations), Stefano Profumo (dark matter), Tesla Jeltema (history of the cosmos), and Sasha Sher (investigation of neural circuits with multielectrode recordings). All of the scientists spent considerable time developing presentations that engaged the students.
As usual, the students and the program also benefited from other activities at UCSC. They participated in a laboratory safety-training course and a tour of the Cosmology 3D visualization lab.
In addition to the standard QuarkNet assessments, we ask the students to use our own evaluation form, which we have been using since 2011. We used last year’s responses and experiences to make adjustments to this year’s program, which was again very successful. Because of positive experiences from past years, word of mouth of the program is spreading very effectively in area schools: our applicant pool this year was again very strong, with good representation from historically underrepresented groups. All of the students were fully engaged, and they developed creative uses for the CRMD’s, solved problems as they arose, assessed experimental uncertainties, and completed their experiments and reports. Their presentations were carefully prepared and well executed. The students developed skills including how to think on their feet, critically assess their own results, and answer open-ended questions. Most of this year’s interns declared that they were very interested in applying to universities to continue studies in physics or astrophysics.
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