Last week, the CERN Bulletin announced that two new particle physics applications have been released into the Google Play online application store. The Particle Properties and the Particle Physics Booklet 2010* Android applications were developed by Igor Kreslo, a physicist from the Laboratory for High Energy Physics at the University of Bern, Switzerland, and are proving to be a popular way to teach students about fundamental physics.
Kreslo created the applications while he was on shift for the T2K neutrino experiment in Japan. The Particle Properties app is an online database of elementary particle properties. When scientists study particle physics, they require some vital information, such as decay branching ratios. The other app called the Particle Physics Booklet provides information about a number of particles such as the muon.
Together, these tools enable Igor to engage his students about the application of theory to high-energy particle physics experiments. For example, he shares and discusses the data displayed so his students can differentiate which particle is which and how they might decay.
These apps join the LHSee, an Android app that lets anyone watch live 3D particle collisions from CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, which we reported on last year. On Google Play, it has now received 457 generally positive reviews from users.
Kreslo’s apps look on track to perhaps be more successful than LHCSee in popularity, as both apps have received five stars, the top user review score, already. While Kreslo hones his Android programmer skills, he is already setting his sights on his next app.
“One general idea I have is of an app which could bring to a detector person on duty a
summary of critical information of detector operation; for instance, slow control alarms, or even online event displays. But this is at a very premature state,” Kreslo said.
Who would have thought it; smartphone apps can be an engaging scientific outreach tool for students and the public, and even be used to provide real-time detector summaries for researchers.
* This application is based on the collected work of the Particle Data Group (PDG), with its permission, but is not supported by the group.