The National Particle Physics Masterclass
Durham University
2nd and 3rd April 2008



The Durham University Physics Department will be hosting a one-day event in 2007, highlighting some of the latest developments in particle physics research. It will be part of a national series of masterclasses, supported by the Institute of Physics. Groups of sixth formers studying physics are invited to come along with their teachers to experience for themselves the excitement of these latest results at first hand. This event is now taking place for the ninth time.

The day will be a mixture of talks and PC-based practical sessions. The practical sessions will give allow students to make their own measurements of particle tracks, using a software package designed for schools, and to try their hand at indentifying what is happening in particle collisions recently recorded at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva.


The meeting will be held in the Physics Department on the University Science site and will start promptly at 10am and will consist of four roughly one-hour activities. We hope to end at around 4pm. Participants should bring a packed lunch. Drinks will be available for purchase.


Rough outline of the day

First, preview lectures describing the main ideas of particle physics oriented to what will be encountered in the hands on computer activities. Einsteins energy-mass relation and conservation of momentum will be discussed, together with the types of particles and types of events produced in experiments and how they look in detectors.

In the computer simulations, the students will be asked to work in pairs (or with a teacher). The first exercise involves using the World Wide Web to access information and events produced at LEP. There will be a guided tour of typical events and some pattern recognition employed to identify which events are which.

The second and third exercises will be based on the Lancaster Particle Physics software. This is a windows based package and allows ``experiments'' with colliding beams and stationary targets from the ``billiard ball'' point of view. Magnetic fields are available and the effect on particles with charge and different momenta can be explored. One of the activities involves time dilation of particles travelling close to the speed of light and there will be a short tutorial introducing this concept. There will be worksheets for the students to follow.


See map for how to find the physics department. Car access to the science site is via the South Road entrance. Please request a temporary car parking permit with your application to attend.



Bookings can be made by contacting Clare Thompson. Places are limited, so please apply as soon as possible.
Clare Thompson, Institute of Particle Physics Phenomenology, Physics Dept., Science Laboratories, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE.
Telephone: 0191 334 3766
Email: clare.thompson@durham.ac.uk
as soon as possible.


* One of a set of Masterclasses organised by the High Energy Particle Physics Group of the Institute of Physics throughout the UK