The University of Notre Dame QuarkNet Center is an educational program sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Department of Energy (DOE) whose aim is to support science education in schools by establishing a nationwide network of science teachers. It provides opportunities for teachers to learn firsthand about cutting-edge physics research at universities and establish mentoring relationships with physicists at universities and national laboratories.
Summer Research is the cornerstone of the Notre Dame QuarkNet program. In 2013, 17 teachers, 16 students, and 5 mentors worked on 9 different projects, including investigations into new scintillators, presentation of particle physics in the Notre Dame Digital Visual Theater (DVT), investigations using the CMS e-Lab, Project Gamma Ray Astrophysics at Notre Dame, and cosmic ray studies.
The master class, started in Europe, is a main educational activity of the European Particle Physics Outreach Group and QuarkNet manages the project in the United States. The goal of the master class is to bring particle physics data to students, make measurements, and learn how physicists conduct their work.
The London-based group International Innovation, a leading scientific dissemination service, recently published an article on the QuarkNet master class. "Spreading the net" has been made available courtesy of International Innovation.
The reach of the master class will continue to grow. The QuarkNet Center recently received an $8,000 Luksic Collaboration grant from Notre Dame International to create a partnership in particle physics education between Notre Dame and Pontifical Catholic University in Santiago, Chile. The highlight of the partnership will be an international master class, which will bring high school students from Indiana and Chile together online. Similar to typical international research collaborations, the students will join each other in a video conference at the end of each day to discuss and combine their results.