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On the left, Nihal Ciani of Boyd Anderson High School and Amelia Martin of Coral Gables High School work on assembling the cosmic ray detector scintillator. On the right, Jorge Gilbert, J.C. Catala and David Jones do additional work on the scintillator.

In its tenth year, The National QuarkNet project involves about 100,000 students from 500+ US high schools. The project focuses on bringing together large communities of physics educators with real science currently being done at Fermilab and CERN. The project involves the following major educational goals:

  • Web-based analysis of real data.
  • Collaboration with students worldwide.
  • Remote control of television cameras in experimental areas.
  • Visits by student representatives to the experiments.

Through inquiry-oriented investigations students will learn kinematics, particles, waves, electricity and magnetism, energy and momentum, radioactive decay, optics, relativity, forces, and the structure of matter. QuarkNet has ~50 centers in universities and laboratories participating in high-energy physics experiments. Initially, each center includes two mentor physicists and two high school physics teachers. The project connects High Energy physicists with high school teachers and students. The participants have opportunities to visit HEP labs and interact with real high energy physics experiments through the Cosmic Ray Detector that is designed by the QuarkNet project and assembled by high school teachers and used by high school students to collect data. The data can then be shared with the project and uploaded to Fermilab.

FIU has been a QuarkNet Site since 2003. The FIU site currently has cosmic ray detectors and has put three MDCPS teachers through the Quarknet Lead Teacher “Boot Camp”. The current QuarkNet Lead Teacher is JC Catala of Miami Lakes Educational Center. JC spent a week at Fermi lab during the summer of 08.

FIU has sponsored 3 QuarkNet Workshops for Miami area high school teachers. The most recent workshop was July 28 – Aug 1, 2009 at FIU and was facilitated by JC Catala the current QuarkNet Lead Teacher. FIU’s team of QuarkNet Teachers assembled the first Cosmic Ray Detector in Spring 08, and a second detector in Summer 2009 in conjunction with 4 high school students. Each of the detectors has been in service during the 08-09 and 09-10 school year.

FIU QuarkNet project also hosts an annual “QuarkNet Day” for interested high school students in our community. The day focuses on connecting the students to some real particle physics experiments and gives them a chance to see the experiments and perform the experiments on their own.

FIU Faculty – QuarkNet

  • Dr. Laird Kramer
  • Dr. Jorge Rodriguez

QuarkNet Lead Teachers:

  • David Jones and Richard Allen (2003)
  • JC Catala 2008

FIU’s involvement with QuarkNet was featured in a Miami Herald article in August 2009.

Major Link: http://quarknet.fnal.gov