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Air Showers @ U of R

Big Paddles @ U of R

Hidden Ceilings @ Nazareth

Airplane Flight @ Byron-Bergen

Halloween Forbush Decrease @ Pittsford Mendon

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August 2005 – Angles and Air Showers, Muon Investigations at the U of R

Students participating in the Research Experience for High School Students and their teachers explored the nature of muons in atmospheric showers along with U of R physicists during the summer of 2005. They utilized the “Big Paddles” to create an array of detectors, and determined not only that the muon air showers they detected with this array came down at steep angles, typically within 45 degrees of vertical, but also these showers are more strongly favored toward steep angles than individual muon detections. Additionally, the team found out that the showers do not seem to come from any one orientation more or less frequently than any other.

To learn more, read a summary of the air shower experiment. Also, view U of R undergraduate Kara Morris’ presentation and the high school student’s poster.

October 2004 – The “Mother of all Paddles” is Up and Running

The new giant muon telescope measures an astounding 0.75 meters x 3.0 meters (~2.25 feet x 9 feet). It is located in the attic of the University of Rochester's Bausch and Lomb Hall (the physics building). The detector is currently collecting data at about 100 times the rate of the small, classroom sized detectors. The higher rate of data collection should yield much better results than can be collected with the small paddles. Preliminary data analysis shows a stronger muon rate and pressure correlation than previous data had suggested.

For more information or to download data, click here.

Also check out Joe Willie's page for a look at the analysis.

June 2004 - Students Uncover Hidden Mysteries at Nazareth Academy

Inspired by archaeologists searching Mayan temples for secret chambers, the AP Physics class at Nazareth Academy set out to map their school based on muon rates. They were in for a surprise when the auditorium showed much lower muon rates than the surrounding hallways. The auditorium was expected to have higher rates because it was presumed to have less material overhead than in the hallways. Investigative research led the students to discover there were several "extra" roofs from renovations and roof repairs above the auditorium.

To see the students’ presentation and learn more, click here.

May 2004 – Byron Bergen Students Explore Relativity

Students from Byron Bergen High School, with support from the New York State Section of the APS, set out to measure the lifetime of muons generated from cosmic rays. The primary goal of the experiment was to give a concrete example of particle physics and relativity in addition to a view into the experimental process. The primary science objective was to verify relativistic time dilation in muons. Students achieved this by sending their Black Box on a small locally chartered plane. The airplane flew at different altitudes so as to see how the flux of muons from cosmic rays varied at different heights. Students measured how much the atmosphere slowed our stopped muons and corrected for this by taking into account atmospheric density at different altitudes.

Click here to read the project summary or click here to view the students’ presentation

October 2003 - The Haunting of the Halloween Forbush Decrease

Solar Flare: Joe Willie's class at Pittsford-Mendon observed a huge decrease in the muon rate between October 23 and November 4, 2003. As they soon discovered, the decrease was due to an extreme amount of solar activity, now known as the Great Halloween Solar Storm of 2003. The high energy particles reached the Earth in about one-third the time they usually takes and caused an increase in geomagnetic activity. The students saw a 10% drop in muon rate due to the solar activity and a two week recovery period before muon rates were back to normal.

To see the data and learn more, see Joe Willie's website.

More about PARTICLE

In the Press: Democrat and Chronicle, August 10, 2000

Susen Clark’s AAPT Presentation on Cosmic Ray Research in the Rochester Area (PowerPoint) (pdf)

Rachael Anderman’s Master's Thesis: An Evaluation of PARTICLE (pdf)

Kevin McFarland's STANYS Conference Presentation on Particle Physics

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester, PO Box 270171, Rochester, NY 14627-0170, (585)-275-5306