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Local Students Engage in Particle Physics Demonstration

particle physics demonstration

Brookhaven physicist Howard Gordon displays a Kapton electrode from the LHC's ATLAS detector to some of the high-school students who participated in the Masterclass. Front row: Theresa Bender, Spring Yu (both of Shoreham Wading River), Dazia Enriquez (William Floyd), Matthew Ciullo (Farmingdale); back row: Anupam Bubhram Mahadeo (William Floyd), Eda Algur (Smithtown High School West), Justin Lerner (Smithtown High School East) and Elijah Mas (Farmingdale).

Last month, 55 high school students from the Shoreham-Wading River, William Floyd, Farmingdale, and Smithtown school districts got a chance to experience what it’s like to be part of an international physics collaboration by participating in a particle physics “International Masterclass” with physicists involved in research at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) located at Europe’s CERN laboratory. The students analyzed data from the LHC’s ATLAS experiment and presented their results via live videoconference from BNL to physicists at CERN, along with students from Germany and Ireland.

The event was part of a larger annual effort to engage students worldwide in the exciting world of particle physics. It was coordinated by Dresden University of Technology and QuarkNet – a program for teachers supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The students prepared for the event by attending lectures and demonstrations, where under the guidance of Brookhaven physicist Helio Takai, they searched for evidence of subatomic particles in data from the LHC’s proton-proton collisions. They analyzed 1,000 ATLAS events to arrive at the results that were presented during the videoconference. 

“The CERN Masterclass is a microcosm of how physicists collaborate to explore the frontier of particle physics,” Takai said. “We have been lucky to partner with great physics teachers from schools near us for this fabulous experience.”

Learn more about the CERN Masterclass here:

2014-4828  |  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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