From the universe to the classroom


Citizen Science: From the Universe to the Classroom

Simulated high power shower (1017 eV) impacts perpendicular to the city of Bologna and produces a million secondary muons on Earth that appear as red dots. credit: European Physical Journal Plus (2022). DOI: 10.1140/epjp/s13360-022-03331-0

Citizen science projects provide an opportunity for the general public, or segments of that audience such as school students, to participate in scientific research. The Extreme Energy Events (EEE) project in Italy is a collaboration between particle physicists who study cosmic rays and school students and their teachers across the country.


This has two goals: to bring cosmic ray research into schools and to create a nationwide “open lab.” particle detectors. One of the principal investigators from the EEE Project Consortium, Silvia Pisano of Italy’s Centro Fermi and Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati of INFN, Rome, Italy, summarized findings from nearly 20 years of this project in a new paper in European Physical Journal Plus .

Cosmic rays are high-energy particles that travel through space at nearly the speed of light. When they come into contact with Earth’s atmosphere, they produce a variety of secondary particles that can be detected when they reach ground level. One primary cosmic ray could produce a shower of these particles that would completely cover a city the size of, say, Bologna. “There are still many open questions about these secondary particles, such as the full details of their energy spectra,” Pisano explains.

The EEE network consists of about 60 detectors or “EEE telescopes” located throughout Italy, most of them in secondary schools. Students and their teachers participate in all aspects of the project: installing and maintaining equipment, collecting and analyzing data, and disseminating results. “The peculiarity of an experiment designed in this way is that it can look for correlations between events that are hundreds of kilometers apart,” Pisano adds. She and her colleagues now plan to expand the network to more schools, including some outside of Italy.

Other ongoing developments include designing a mixture of gases for detectors to replace the powerful greenhouse gas tetrafluoroethane; school students Participate in this and other improvements. “This experience provides a unique environment for teaching future generations to do science,” Pisano concludes.

more information:
Silvia Pisano et al., Extreme Energy Events Project, Available here. European Physical Journal Plus (2022). DOI: 10.1140/epjp/s13360-022-03331-0

the quote: Citizen Science: From Cosmos to Classroom (2023, January 20) Retrieved January 20, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-01-citizen-science-cosmos-classroom.html

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