Back To Top
Particle Header Particle Home Other sites of interest About the Program Photo Gallery Teacher Resources Student Resources

Resources for Students

Particle Physics
Muon Telescopes
Student Work

Where can I learn about particle physics?

Introduction to Particle Physics - This link leads to a brief discussion of particle physics: quarks, leptons, anti-matter, muons, and cosmic rays. It also points to numerous links, including our favorite: a fabulous interactive tour of matter, forces, and particle accelerators.

Lectures for High School Students - This link leads to a collection of talks given to high school students by past PARTICLE Fellows. The talks cover topics like the standard model, neutrinos, Fermi Lab, and the cloud chamber.

How do muon telescopes work?

The telescopes are made of a plastic scintillator that is connected to a photomultiplier tube (PMT). So what are a scintillator and a photomultiplier tube? A scintillator is a special piece of plastic that emits a photon whenever a charged particle, such as a muon or an electron, passes through it. The photon travels through the plastic to the PMT. The photon hits a photocathode in the PMT and is converted into an electron, which starts a chain reaction to produce many more electrons. These electrons form a current that sends a signal to the computer and the computer records the event. This is a very brief description; more detail about the workings of the telescope can be found on the telescopes page.

What can we use the telescopes for?

The telescopes can be used for many different experiments. Most commonly, we measure the muon rate as a function of some variable such as time of day, location, absorber, or paddle separation. Be creative, you can do anything! For inspiration, check out the experiments that have been done before.

What have other students done?

Students have done everything from putting muon detectors on airplanes and measuring the muon rate as a function of altitude to using muon detectors to discover several extra ceilings above their school’s auditorium. You can look at what other students have done by checking out

PARTICLE Day Presentations (posters and presentations given by students about the experiments and studies they have done during the school year)

Research Experience for High School Students(a description of the work students have done over the summer at U of R on the "big" paddles)

Breaking PARTICLE News (snapshots of exciting results found by participating students)

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