Here are two easy experiments which show us how physicists detect elementary particles. Both are available from Science Kit or can be easily constructed on your own. We have both set-ups available to borrow from the PARTICLE Program.

 

Rutherford Scattering

 

In this experiment, students roll marbles at a hidden object to try and determine its shape. This is analogous to particle detectors that “roll” high energy particles, such as electrons or protons, at a mystery object. 

 

For complete instructions, check out the Particle Adventure Teacher Page for this experiment.

For a class handout, look at the Particle Adventure Student Page or download this activity (pdf file) for your students.

Order from Science Kit.

 

 

 

 

Tracking Unseen Particles (magnetic marbles)

 

This demonstration is similar to the cloud chamber. As the magnetic marble rolls under the filings it leaves a trail, like the    paths seen in the cloud chamber that were left after the charged particle passed through.

 

For complete instructions, check out the Particle Adventure Teacher Page for this experiment.

For a class handout, look at the Student Page.

Order from Science Kit.