STEM Club - Muon Hunters

Jacob, Sam and Sam from Year 10, Niall from Year 9 and MacKenzie from Year 8 have been working on an exciting project in STEM Club with Ms Hathway.

Muons are particles that fly in from space and are all around us. You would have no idea though because we can’t detect them. Very simply they are similar to electrons in that they have a charge of -1, but they have a much greater mass than electrons. For those studying GCSE Science or beyond, muons are leptons and they are not made up of any simpler particles. Think about the atom. An atom is made up of protons, neutrons and electrons, so an atom does have simpler particles within it. Muons are not made of anything smaller.

Muons were discovered in 1936 by Carl Anderson and Seth Neddermeyer at Cal Tech University in the USA.

At STEM club we had a STEM ambassador from Cornwall College, Mr Mike Trebilcock who funded the project and provided the equipment. The muon detector works by filtering out other cosmic radiation via lead sheets, two sensors then pick up the time of flight of the muons. The information is then processed by a program coded by the students and logged in an excel spread sheet.

We found that muons are flying in from space all the time and with the right equipment are quite easy to detect. Our thanks to Mike for helping us in such an exciting and interesting project.

You can see the results of the project on our website

Our next project is to write a program and produce a computer game based on the College.

We meet every Wednesday in H11 from 3.30pm to 4.30pm. All welcome.