High school teachers and students present at QuarkNet symposium

Author: Marissa Gebhard

In early June, 15 high school physics teachers and a 14 high school students arrived at the Notre Dame QuarkNet Center for the summer physics Research Experience for Teachers (RET) Program and the Research Experience for High School students (REHS). Both groups came do physics research over an eight week period. The students who have finished their junior year in high school were chosen by their physics teachers to participate in the program. The teachers were chosen through an application and review process. They represented schools in the South Bend area as well as Florida, New York and New Jersey.

During their eight weeks of research, the students and teachers worked together on projects involving cutting-edge research into the testing of materials for future particle physics detectors, analysis of data for a variety of scientific purposes and computer programming involving a wide range of topics. This research is an on-going extension of the particle physics research that takes place year-round at the lab adjacent to the QuarkNet Center.

The two programs ended with a symposium on Thursday, July 31, 2008 at the Jordan Hall of Science. There, the high school physics teachers gave presentations about their summer research experiences. The talks ranged from “Cosmic Ray Detectors for the Classroom” to “CMS Monte Carlo e-Lab” to “Eclipsing Binary Stars”.  Following lunch, 12 high school students presented posters on their summer research, including “Genetic Algorithm Applied to Quark Mixing” and “Scintillating and Waveshifting Materials”.  Some of the students have indicated an interest in applying to the Siemen’s Competition (formerly Westinghouse), and in order to qualify for the competition they will produce a 20-page research paper describing their research.

QuarkNet Symposium