Idaho State University QuarkNet Activities for 2016

The eleventh annual ISU QuarkNet Summer Institute was held June 6 - 10, 2016.  QuarkNet veterans Robert Franckowiak of Logan, Dr. Steven Millward of Grace, Idaho, Jodie Hale, Michael Matusek, and Geoffrey Williams of Pocatello, Idaho, and Keith Quigley of Roy Utah, participated this year, along with QuarkNet newbies Cara Clark of Midvale, Utah, and Kathy Freeman of Eagle, Idaho.  During the institute, these Associate Teachers and Dr. Steve Shropshire plateaued each detector, conducted performance studies, and did a preliminary blessing of each CRD.  Starting Tuesday Robert Fannkowiak led discussions for ways to use the CRDs in the classroom and availability of web/online resources.  Newer attendees were paired with more seasoned members as each group brainstormed a research topic, then collected, uploaded, and viewed data. Troubleshooting some of the more frequent issues were also explored. 

A more thorough tour of the e-lab was modeled on Tuesday to show the capabilities and benefits to the teacher and the student. The geometry Upload was discussed to make sure the time stamp in the geometry configuration is previous to the data file that is associated with that geometry. The project map, analysis tools, and blessing were discussed as well as the Library and Resources links. The design of a poster was explained to be used to summarize experiments that are done by students and to be produced by the teacher for the workshop (one explaining their individual experiment and another for a lesson plan).  A tour was provided of the Idaho Accelerator Center (IAC) by Wendland Beezhold, Director. Teachers arranged their CRMDs to run various experiments overnight.  A few groups tried some variation of the Time of Flight, while the rest spread the channels at various distances to measure showers.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoon CRMD experiments were prepared for overnight collection, with data upload and analysis conduction the following mornings.  Time of Flight experiments were tried in various configurations. The issue of having a positive mean or a negative mean was explored. (Are there a lot of muons traveling through the earth?) If the channels are spaced close together, then it might be reasonable to conclude that there are multiple strikes on the channels from different muons and many from off normal paths. The channels each have an error in the time measurement. When calculating the time difference in the two channels, one should see a systematic (repeatable) result. To compensate for the measurement error it becomes necessary to switch the positions of the channels. The resultant data should provide a reading that has switched the error difference. The average of the two switched measurements should eliminate the error. One attempt to eliminate the additional muons included looking for 3 fold coincidence in 3 channels, while using the data from 2 channels. A second attempt included using two channels placed vertically and voiding any data from the coincidence of the vertical plate with the horizontal. There were also three shower studies that were ran and data collected.  One study involved looking at channel separation at a given height to ascertain if there is a preferred spacing to detect showers. Two other groups arranged their channels in a spread out configuration but in two separate rooms. The point of their experiment was to look for showers between the two individual systems. The routines were then run multiple times with different settings to ascertain what was being calculated within the routine. Gate widths were also adjusted to look for statistical possibilities of time delay errors.

On Thursday and Friday teachers worked on posters and lesson plans of how they would use the CRMDs in their classrooms. Lesson plans and posters were presented to the group on Friday.

A study suggested for next year is to have stacked systems on each floor of the four story building. Using the shower routine, find the events that are from the “same” muon. The time of flight could theoretically be calculated on an “individual” basis. Can the routine be modified to do many days, or multiple detectors?

Two lectures were given during the workshop.  The topics were Current Research at the IAC, presented by Wendland Beezhold, and Pulsed Power Accelerator research by Rick Spielman.

During the fall of 2015 and spring of 2016, all eight of the Associate Teachers who participated in the 2015 Summer Institute shared all seven of the ISU detectors to introduce their students to particle physics. All Associate Teachers who participated in the 2016 Summer Institute, with the exception of Kathy Freeman, will use one of the seven ISU detectors in this fashion in the fall of 2015 and spring of 2016.