Elementary Particle Detection

Manager: Jonathan Ho, pj Smigliani

Contact: pjsmig@g.ucla.edu

Sponsored by Prof. Nathan Whitehorn

Learning Objectives: Elementary Particle Physics, Hardware Engineering and Design, Data Analysis

Cloud chambers were used in the discoveries of the positron (1932) and the muon (1936) by Carl Anderson, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for his positron discovery. In this project, team members will learn about elementary particles, design and build a cloud chamber, and use it to detect muons reaching the earth. Team members can then choose to use it to observe the fluctuations in muon flux at high altitudes, which entails a field trip to a nearby mountain with the built cloud chamber. Members can also measure certain quantities such as the muon’s charge to mass ratio with the chamber. The cloud chamber may also be put on display in the Physics and Astronomy Building.