Undergraduate Research in Particle Astrophysics

CUNY Cosmic Ray Detector Array for Undergraduate Research in Engineering and Computational Physics

The Queensborough Community College physics department is building a cosmic ray detector array for undergraduate student research.  College students and high school physics teachers are involved in building the array which includes detectors at different college campuses interconnected over the Internet.  In building and operating detectors students and teachers gain valuable training in engineering science, electronics, computer programming, data analysis, and project management.  A learning community has been established where students are engaged in high impact practices and active learning.  Science goals include measuring the rate and directionality of 10 m to 10 km wide cosmic ray muon showers, and correlations with atmospheric variables and solar activity.

Opportunities for Students

If you plan to work with electronics, mechanical equipment, or computers in engineering or science there is nothing better than to design and build things now as hands-on hard work opens up many doors for your future. Students accepted into the program can register for Physics Research Projects PH900 (90 lab hours, 2 credits) and/or Scientific use of Computers PH303 (2 credits):

  • Design and build scientific equipment
  • Build beginner or advanced electronic circuits
  • Write software in Python or C++ for systems control and data acquisition
  • Build particle physics detectors: design framing, machine parts, water jet applications
  • Measure cosmic ray particles from outer space
  • Present research results at conferences
  • Apply for summer research opportunities at QCC and Brookhaven National Lab
  • Publish papers

Cosmic ray detectors built by students

Cosmic Ray Detector Picture

Designing circuits

Designing Circuits Picture

QCC Quarknet Center for Science Outreach

QuarkNet  https://quarknet.org/ is an NSF grant funded educational outreach program at the University of Notre Dame and operated by the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory Office of Educational Programs. High school physics teachers can apply to participate in the program. In this mutually beneficial arrangement teachers can gain research experience in cosmic ray physics, electronics, and/or software development. A detector is typically loaned to each participating high school for student use. See participating student results.

Building Cosmic Ray Detectors

Campus Cultural Centers

Kupferberg Holocaust Center exterior lit up at nightOpens in a new window
Kupferberg Holocaust Center Opens in a new window

The KHC uses the lessons of the Holocaust to educate current and future generations about the ramifications of unbridled prejudice, racism and stereotyping.

Russian Ballet performing at the Queensborough Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window
QPAC: Performing Arts CenterOpens in a new window

QPAC is an invaluable entertainment company in this region with a growing national reputation. The arts at QPAC continues to play a vital role in transforming lives and building stronger communities.

Queensborough Art Gallery exterior in the afternoonOpens in a new window
QCC Art Gallery

The QCC Art Gallery of the City University of New York is a vital educational and cultural resource for Queensborough Community College, the Borough of Queens and the surrounding communities.