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