Happy Higgs Day from CERN!

Six years ago I stayed up all night to watch the announcement from CERN that was rumored to be about the Higgs boson. I ordered a particle physics textbook that night, having never taken a formal class that went beyond a general historical approach.

Particle physics had always sounded interesting. I increased my participation in QuarkNet, brought particle physics into my physics classes for my students, and a year later I spent a week studying at Fermilab.

Now, six years later, I attend lectures in the very hall where CERN scientists broadcast their discovery to the world, learning from scientists involved then and now in pushing the forefront of knowledge in physics.

I have had the good fortune to spend five of the last six summers working with scientists and students at KU doing particle physics research and projects.

And I have had the immense fortune of meeting many physics teachers around the US and the world who share a passion for physics, learning, and teaching.

I could not have dreamed twelve years ago when I started my teaching journey what amazing opportunities I would find. I’m a little more in awe of it every day. And while this (first?) visit to CERN seems like a pinnacle of experience, I can’t help but wonder what the next six years could bring.

Happy Higgs Day!

The Cosmic Ray Muon Detector project update

The research group I’m mainly involved with spent the first few days setting up and plateauing two QuarkNet cosmic ray muon detectors.  I am setting up and plateauing a third, which has been assigned to me to use with my classes at Ottawa High School.

The CRMD research team is working toward taking useful data with the CRMDs on any of a variety of topics such as directionality of cosmic ray muons, or effect of altitude and/or shielding (using Malott hall as the shield).  They are looking toward extending the research done by last summer’s CRMD research team on muon-triggered radio analysis of cosmic ray showers.

Adventures in Summer 2013

University of Kansas.  Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory.  Fermilab.  A year ago, these were places I knew of…this summer, they’re places I’m very fortunate to be involved with.  As the summer continues, I’ll be posting updates on the Quarknet projects I’m helping to lead at KU, and my workshops at Fermilab, Princeton PPL, and Oak Ridge.