Quarknet Masterclass 2016 (March 3rd, 2016, NIU Physics department)

High-school students dive into Particle Physics

Studying theoretical models. Analyzing data. Working in groups. Plotting distributions. Discussing results. These are the skills that particle physicists working on the ATLAS experiment at CERN employ on a daily basis. And they are exactly what eight students and their three science teachers from nearby Metea Valley and Neuqua Valley high schools spent the day doing at the recent Particle Physics Masterclass held on 03 March, 2016, at the NIU Physics Department. As a part of the federally funded QuarkNet program, the center at NIU has been hosting several outreach events and opportunities each year since 2008, the Masterclass invites students every spring to the NIU campus to hear lectures on particle physics and to analyze real collision data from the ATLAS detector. NIU physicists organizing and participating in the event included Profs. Jahred Adelman, Dhiman Chakraborty, Michael Eads, and Graduate Student Gregory Alley. The group discussed and collaborated on their results, and later connected to a video meeting with the University of Motreal Quarknet center in Canada to compare findings. The program ended with a video discussion with particle physicists from nearby Argonne and Fermi National Laboratories. Though the students narrowly missed coming away with a Nobel prize in physics, the goal of the Masterclass, to excite young students and scientists about basic science and physics research, was a clear success. To discover more about QuarkNet activities at NIU, please visit the center's web page.

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