Cosmic Ray Exploration at CSU

July 13-16, 2015

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This workshop is an exploratory prototype. All activities not specifically found in the Data Portfolio are still in development.

New! The results of our cosmic ray experiment in Rocky Mountain National Park are posted below


Participating teachers will:

  • Apply classical physics principles to reduce or explain the observations in data investigations.
  • Identify and describe ways that data are organized for determining any patterns that may exist in the data.
  • Create, organize and interpret data plots; make claims based on evidence and provide explanations; identify data limitations.
  • Develop a plan for taking students from their current level of data use to subsequent levels using activities and/or ideas from the workshop.

We will also provide opportunities to engage in critical dialogue among teaching colleagues about what they learn in the workshop.


Draft Agenda

Times and specific activities are subject to adjustment.

Monday 13 July

09:00     Coffee and Registration

09:15     Introduction/Objectives/Overview

09:30     Presentation: Astroparticle Research

10:30     Break

10:45     No-upload flux activities (choose one): 

No computer needed!

  • Zenith angle
  • Horizontal counter separation
  • Vertical counter separation

11:45     Reflection on Activities

12:00     Lunch 

13:00     Stages of muon lifetime (do in sequence)

14:15     Break

14:30     Detector performance simulation 

15:30     Reflections on Activities and Discussion

16:00     End of Day

Tuesday 14 July

09:00     Coffee/Recap/Plan

09:15     Pierre Auger Virtual Visit

09:45     Prepare detector/computer interfaces

10:00     Plateau detectors

11:30    Set rates and start taking data

  • Take and load GEO information
  • Set rates
  • Set for stacked array

12:00     Lunch

13:00    Blessing

  • Upload data; check blessing files
  • Set benchmark
  • Take more data

14:15     Break     

14:30     Plan Wednesday expedition

15:30     QuarkNet nuts-and-bolts

16:00     End of Day



Wednesday 15 July

09:00    Coffee/Recap/Plan

09:15    Presentation: Neutrino physics

09:45    Rate vs altitude expedition

12:00    Lunch (on the road?)

13:00    Calibrate CSU detector array

14:15     Break

14:30     Implementation plans (form)

15:30     Implementation survey; satisfaction survey

16:00     End of day







Cosmic Ray Experiment in Rocky Mountain National Park

The CSU QuarkNet group took two cosmic ray detectors in two cars up to Alpine Visitor Center on Wednesday Julu 5, 2015, measuring cosmic ray flux at several stops. Zack's detector ran at 3-fold coincidence while Chris' and Roger's detector was at 2-fold. Near the top, we discovered a light leak in Zack's detector but kept it under control.

                                  Our route from Colorado State to Alpine Visitor Center.                                Our results; light purple for Zack's detector and blue for Chris' and Roger's.

Here is the spreadheet with the data.