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Research Experience for High School Students

Summer 2005

Summer Institute



One branch of the PARTICLE program that has developed in recent years is the Research Experience for High School Students program. For four weeks in the summer, highly motivated high school students from the surrounding areas come to the University of Rochester and work on various projects within the PARTICLE program. The students’ teachers often accompany them.

Application form for Participation in Summer Research (pdf)

Summer 2005

The focus of the summer of 2005 was on getting the “Big Paddles” up and running. On route to their permanent home at FermiLab as part of NuTev , these large .8 by 3.5 meter scintillating panels took a detour to the University of Rochester where they were fitted out for operation.

The first step was to test PMTs (pdf) and decide which ones to attach to the panels. Then, each PMT needed to be attached to the panels in such a way that the loss of light from the panel to the PMT was minimized, which the students accomplished by making silicon cookies. Each PMT also needed to be outfitted with high voltage bases. Once all these parts were attached, the panels underwent light leak testing, gamma testing, and efficiency testing. The results from each restored panel (pdf) were carefully mapped out.

Students also worked on other projects (pdf). One student explored the relationship between pressure and muon rates. Two more students analyzed data from the MOLAR Detector. These students also pressure calibrated many of the DAQ boards used in classroom set-ups by the PARTICLE program. Now, the boards can be used during the year to accurately measure atmospheric pressure.

Several students working with Mr. Paul Conrow tried to develop an aqueous scintillator (pdf)that is sensitive to gamma rays.

Finally, before the Big Paddles were gone forever, and just before the summer ended, the students explored the nature of muon showers (pdf) (wavefronts of muons that originated from the same collision of a highly energetic cosmic ray and a molecule in the upper atmosphere.) They arranged several of the large paddles into an array looking for events when all the paddles were triggered within a few nanoseconds of each other. Then, by analyzing the timing of the events, the students could conclude which events were actual wavefronts and which were simply unrelated particles, and then could investigate the orientations of these muon showers. Both a brief summary (doc) and a detailed presentation (pdf) of their results are available.

  • Student Logs
    • Silicon Cookie (pdf)
    • Glue Testing (pdf)
    • PMT Testing (pdf)
    • Pressure Correlation (pdf)
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester, PO Box 270171, Rochester, NY 14627-0170, (585)-275-5306