In a partnership with area high schools and Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), William Floyd AP Physics students recently had the opportunity to participate in an International Physics Masterclass, where they searched for the elusive Higgs boson particle (a particle that gives mass to other fundamental particles) and analyzed data from the powerful particle accelerator at the Large Hadron Collider located at the CERN Laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland.
The students, working with high school counterparts from Farmingdale, Smithtown and Shoreham-Wading River, first delved into the world of subatomic particles through various presentations and later examined the products of collisions of elementary particles traveling at close to the speed of light.
Students then had the unique opportunity to present their findings via a BNL videoconference with physicists at CERN, and high school students from Ireland and Germany; a collaborative effort similar to those that actual particle physicists conduct in international collaborations.
“The International Physics Masterclass is a unique opportunity for students to interact in a challenging, active and international learning environment,” said Cristina Brazzelli, AP Physics teacher, William Floyd High School. “It also gives them the opportunity to work elbow-to-elbow with scientists and get a taste of how modern research in physics works. This program pulls high-energy physics out of the classroom and into real-life applications.”
Collaborators and co-leaders on this project include: Cristina Brazzelli, William Floyd High School; Helio Takai, BNL; Howard Gordon, BNL; Steven Bellavia, BNL; Joanne Schwager, Farmingdale High School; Tom Tomaszewski, Shoreham-Wading River High School; Gillian Winters, Smithtown High School; and Richard Lefferts, Stony Brook University.