Research and Education Project invites Russian physicists

Internet users

Yes, yes, and you, the party of "Made in us," you can have a hand for a major project of Russian scientists.

Extensive air shower (scheme)

Research and Education Project Russian physicists allows any Internet user to try to force in modern physics experiment to study cosmic rays with the use of distributed systems for registration of extensive air showers "Mermaid."

Verify the validity of the fundamental laws of mechanics may be at home every student. For experiments that demonstrate the basic laws of thermodynamics, electromagnetism and optics, enough equipment available in the school laboratory. In most of the physics laboratories of universities can repeat the experiments that determined the development of physics in the early XX century. However, in such fundamental areas of science, astrophysics and particle physics, the value of a truly modern installations are often comparable to the annual budget of a small country. Typically, such facilities are inaccessible not only for students but also for the vast majority of students. Therefore, the notion of what nowadays is the work of physicists, the student, the choice of a future profession and the relevant university in most cases does not have.

Acquainted with the modern physical experiment closer allows internet project "Livni knowledge". With only access to the World Wide Web, anyone can use this project to take part in the study of cosmic rays, familiarize yourself with the experimental techniques of particle physics and try to analyze the data.

Cosmic rays are a stream of high-energy particles from space constantly bombard our planet. The composition of cosmic rays consists mainly of protons and light nuclei of solar and galactic origin. To the surface of the Earth, these particles do not reach: interacting with matter of the atmosphere, they create a cascade of new, secondary particles. If the energy of the primary particle is relatively small, these new particles cascade is also "stuck" in the atmosphere. However, when the primary particle energy above 1013 electron volts generated by its cascade of secondary particles is so intense that its transverse dimension at ground level in the tens, hundreds, or even thousands of meters. These stages are called the extensive air showers (EAS).

Since the opening of Rudolf Hess in 1912 and before the accelerators of cosmic rays were the only available source of high-energy elementary particles. Because of them were open positron, muon, pion and K-meson. But even now, in the era of giant accelerators, cosmic rays have not lost their meaning, since the energy of the particles in them in the thousands, and sometimes millions of times greater than the value of the record reached at the Large Hadron Collider. Note that there are several hypotheses about the mechanisms of acceleration of ultrahigh energy cosmic rays, but the experimental data is lacking.

The greatest interest to high-energy cosmic ray astrophysics feeds. Because of the chaotic configuration of the galactic magnetic field of low-energy cosmic rays for a long time and wander the galaxy, reaching us is not "remember" where and when they were emitted. However, the trajectory of particles with energies above 1019 electron volts interstellar magnetic fields do not bend. Therefore, recording the direction of arrival of such particles, you can set the position of the sources of cosmic rays on the sky and try to associate them with known astronomical objects. It is on these observations focused numerous Observatory for registration of EAS.

In "Livni knowledge" used data from the facility "Mermaid", built at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna. It consists of seven automatic stations that can register the fact of the passage of particles of secondary cosmic radiation. The stations are located within a circle with a diameter of about 300 meters. The scientific value of each individual station is small, although the incoming data is actively used for laboratory work, illustrating the principles of operation of the plant and demonstrate the well-known phenomena of cosmic rays. However, analyzing the signals of multiple stations at the same time you can not just single out unsynchronized responses caused by the arrival of the EAS, but also to restore its direction. For precise timing stations using conventional GPS-receivers operating in an unusual mode of time measurement at a known location. Setting the "Mermaid" is able to detect EAS initiated by primary particle with energy above 1014 electron volts. Since the development of the EAS affects the state of the atmosphere in the unit consists of a weather station, the information which can be correlated with the signals of the detecting stations. All data logged setting is stored and available for subsequent analysis on the Internet.

The very idea is to give pupils and students the opportunity to work with a distributed system of registration of cosmic rays appeared in the United States and Canada, and then came to Europe. Currently, similar projects are successfully implemented in Italy, the Czech Republic, Belgium and other countries. A distinctive feature of the project, "Livni knowledge" is a fundamentally different approach to the placement of the detecting stations. In other projects stations are located in schools and other educational institutions, the typical distance between them is not less than a few kilometers. EAS can cause simultaneous activation of several such remote stations are extremely rare. Therefore, the key task for these installations are usually associated only with the method of registration of secondary cosmic rays. The relative compactness of the set "Mermaid" makes it possible not only to check multiple EAS per hour, but also allows us to study their properties.


Installation scheme "Mermaid"

For the analysis of the data obtained in the project "Livni knowledge" is enough to register Online. After registration, participants may interactively handle any data obtained during the operation of the plant from 2009 to process uses pre-defined algorithms, numerous parameters that can be easily changed. A set of algorithms is constantly updated, and the beginning of 2013, that number had more than two dozen. After a short time after starting the algorithm appears on the screen result — numerous graphs and histograms. There are a variety of scenarios for analysis of data from the use of elementary statistical techniques to the use of their own, no matter how complex processing programs. As in modern science, success is teamwork, when the research program jointly carried out, for example, several members of school physical or virtual community circle. It is important that any time you can get the advice of experienced professionals — JINR, created and maintained by the project.

"Livni knowledge" await the curious visitor, indifferent to the mysteries of astrophysics and particle physics, and wishing to familiarize themselves with the aims and methods of research in the field of modern physics!

Interested parties may obtain further information about the project on Online.

Author:Alexei Guskov, Alex Pearl, George Silks

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