Teachers, Students Analyze Data From European Particle Accelerator
With the help of a new Web portal, high school
students involved with two Notre Dame University programs will now have
to data from experiments conducted at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC),
largest and most powerful particle accelerator in the world.
The LHC is a 16.8-mile ring of magnets at the European
Organization of Nuclear Research (also known as CERN) near Geneva,
Opened in 2008 with the first experiments completed in 2010, the LHC
protons to smash together at close to the speed of light, creating
collisions that can give researchers clues about how nature behaves at a
The data collected by the experiments, however, is
complicated, voluminous and complex, and researchers at CERN are just
to make some of it available for analysis by the larger global research
community, including teachers and students via QuarkNet and I2U2, the two
programs at Notre Dame near South Bend, IN.
QuarkNet provides programs for high school science
get first-hand information about physics research and to interact with
university-level scientists. I2U2, short for Interactions
in Understanding the Universe,
similarly provides tools for high school teachers and students in the
The two programs collaborated to create a masterclass
e-lab to take advantage of the data available from the Compact Muon
Solenoid (CMS) detector at CERN.
The CMS masterclass is a day-long event in which high
students and teacher learn the basics of particle physics and then use
developed by QuarkNet to analyze a sample of CMS data. Afterwards, they
able to meet via video teleconferencing with CMS physicists to discuss
The CMS e-class is an online self-directed study
allows students and teachers to go into greater depth with the available
"These outreach programs help educate and inspire the
generation of scientists," said Notre Dame Physics Professor Mitchell
demonstrate the interesting and creative ways these data can be used by
school teachers and students."
Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.