2014 Annual Report - Colorado State

Faculty mentors: Dr. Norm Buchanan, Assistant Professor and Dr. Walter Toki, Professor, Physics Department, Colorado State University
Lead teachers: Cherie Bornhorst, Science Teacher, Loveland High School; and Adam Pearlstein, Teacher in Residence, Colorado State University

The Colorado State Quarknet Center is now in its 3rd year. In the first two years of our program, we focused solely on cosmic ray research, and deployed 4 detectors at high schools on the Front Range. The focus for the FY 2014 was to expand our program; both in membership of teachers, and to include other aspects of high energy physics.

Quarknet@CSU Workshop
A four day workshop was held at CSU on August 4-7, 2014, in the Little Shop of Physics workshop space. The workshop was divided into two portions; the first two days being a workshop lead by CMS Fellow, Shane Wood from the University of Minnesota QN Center, and the following two days was time for teachers to build off our previous developments in cosmic ray data and research, lead by Cosmic Fellow, Robert Franckowiak from the Idaho State University QN Center.

The CMS Workshop was very well received by the teachers, who enjoyed the hands-on experiments and data that are easily implemented into a high school Physics curriculum. The workshop trained our teachers in analyzing real CMS data, compiling data to create histograms, and using the data to discover the mass of the Z boson. Through the activities, teachers were introduced to the Standard Model, the significance of the Higgs Boson, and the current research at the LHC. Mentor, Dr. Norm Buchanan, gave a talk on the physics of the ATLAS and CMS experiments. The two day CMS workshop concluded with a virtual visit with scientists at the CMS experiment at CERN. Teachers had the opportunity to ask questions about the experiment and also got an underground tour of the experiment.

The final two days of the workshop was dedicated time for the teachers to continue learning more about cosmic rays and the CRMD’s in their classrooms. Teachers took data with the cosmic ray detectors, using the new Java-based program, EQUIP, which allows teachers a real-time look at muon counts on each channel during data collection, as well as an ease of user interface. Teachers had time to review the steps necessary to collect data that is “blessed”, and therefore open-source data once uploaded to the Cosmic Ray eLab. The detectors are currently with teachers at 4 Colorado high schools, namely: Loveland High School, Castleview High School, Greeley West High School, and Rangeview High School.

Teachers participating in the summer workshop:
Cherie Bornhorst, Loveland High School
Adam Pearlstein, Colorado State University
Roger Felch, Castleview High School
Chris Nichols, Castleview High School
Brandy Bourdeaux, Rangeview High School
Zach Armstrong, Greeley West High School

Participation in High School Teachers Program @ CERN 2014
Lead Teacher, Cherie Bornhorst, was one of five teachers from the United States chosen to participate in the HST 2014 Programme at CERN. The program was held July 6-26th, 2014 and was an intensive series of lectures, presentations, tours, and working in focused project groups with 50 other teachers from around the world. Cherie is excited to bring her knowledge and skills acquired at CERN back to her classroom, and the Colorado State University QuarkNet teacher group.