Global Cosmic Ray Studies

Projects for High School Students

There are several projects around the world that address young people and teachers, to give them the opportunity to explore cosmic particles. These projects are presented below. For further information, please visit the websites.


Callio Lab: Doing cosmic ray physics underground is something the young students are really interested in. The Centre for Underground Physics in Pyhäsalmi (CUPP) of Callio Lab, in Finland, has made it possible. The outreach program, established in 2010, is based on the cosmic ray experiment EMMA and particle physics. The emphasis is on the hands-on exercises with simple data and detectors. The workshops and theme days are well liked. The outreach is also taken out into the community by participating into annual town fair of Pyhäjärvi with general public lectures, and organizing theme weeks on physics topics together with science centre Tietomaa in Oulu. Website: Callio Lab 


Cosmos à l’École: In France, a collaboration started several years ago between the “Institut National de Physique Nucléaire et de Physique des Particules” (IN2P3) of the CNRS and “Sciences à l’École”, a project from the French Education Ministry which is promoting science in high schools and higher education. Large cosmic ray detectors called “Cosmodétecteurs” are built in the Marseille IN2P3 laboratory (CPPM) and given to high school teachers selected by “Sciences à l’École”. These teachers are trained prior to receiving the detector – a one week-long seminar at CERN, part of the High School Teacher program, plus a technical course in Marseilleto learn how to use the apparatus. These teachers then exchange information through a dedicated internet forum and present the educational activities they develop with their Cosmodétecteur. There are currently 30 such detectors in France and 15 more will be released in 2017.
Website: Sciences à l’École 


e-PÉRON: a virtual lab dedicated on cosmic rays.The Labex OCEVU (a cluster of 6 research laboratories located in the south of France) and the Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées offers the possibility for the teachers and their students, from high school to university to experiment cosmic ray physics for real on a dedicated platform online. Via a website, they could select their own experiment through several ones (muon lifetime, East/West effect, Rossi experiment, Auger experiment, cosmic ray network) and download the data during a choosen period. The experiments are located on the Pic du Midi de Bigorre in the French Pyrenees and are running continuously since may 2015. The use is in open access.
Website: e-PÉRON 



Cosmic@Web: is a web platform that gatheres and provides the data of different experiments in the astroparticle physics. It allows students to analyse data on their own, without special programming skills and even write their own research papers. Website: Cosmic@Web 

Netzwerk Teilchenwelt: On the track of the Big Bang. In the network "Netzwerk Teilchenwelt" one can enjoy particle physics and astroparticle physics to touch. At workshops in schools, student labs or museums, young people and teachers across the whole of Germany experience the world of Quarks, Elektron & Co. with real data from science or their own experiments. If you want to know more, join the network, develop your own projects and participate in workshops at CERN in Geneva, have a look at the website: Netzwerk Teilchenwelt  



Extreme Energy Events - Science inside Schools (EEE), is a joint educational and scientific initiative studying cosmic rays. This strategic project of Centro Fermi, Rome is  conducted in collaboration with CERN, INFN and MIUR and carried out with the essential contribution of high school students and teachers. The physics research interests include the properties of the local muon flux, the detection of extensive air showers, and the search for possible long range correlations between far telescopes. The experiment is based on a network of "telescopes," the most advanced particle detectors (Multigap Resistive Plate Chambers, MRPC), built at CERN by teams of students and teachers. Telescopes are located in high schools distributed throughout Italy and are controlled by students. Currently, about 50 telescopes are taking data, and more than 90 institutes are analyzing data. Data from all telescopes are centrally collected, reconstructed and distributed to the students. Regular videoconferences, masterclasses, meetings and visits are organized with the involvement of all institutes. More than 50 billion tracks have been collected and are presently studied by students and professional researchers. The project is expanding with the construction of new telescopes. Website: EEE 

The National Institute for Nuclear Physics (INFN) attaches great importance to and initiates programs for reaching the public and giving students an insight into research. INFN divisions provide detectors for students to measure cosmic rays. Every year, INFN takes part in International Cosmic Day, inviting about 600 students from all over the country to participate. INFN is the Italian research agency dedicated to the study of the fundamental constituents of matter and the laws that govern them. INFN researchers conduct theoretical and experimental research in the fields of subnuclear, nuclear and astroparticle physics. Website: INFN 


tan-Q is a collaboration group to enhance cosmic-ray research activities by secondary students in Japan managed by several high energy research facilities. We developed an original comic ray detector for secondary students, and distribute to schools in Japan. Each student group proceeds with a unique research activity with university student mentor, and they lively exchange with each other by using a Slack and other online tools. Website: tan-Q



Cosmic-Ray Extremely Distributed Observatory (CREDO) is an expanding world wide network of cosmic ray detectors, utilising both professional observatories and public mobile devices such as smart phones. The main objective of CREDO is to look for cosmic ray events which are extended in both time and space and thus beyond the abilities of localised detectors to identify. Such events have interdisciplinary applications in areas such as geophysics and space weather as well as astrophysics. The involvement of non-professional science enthusiasts in CREDO is enhanced by Dark Universe Welcome where citizen scientists are invited to explore the cosmic ray events detected around the world, classify them and identify patterns.Website: CREDO, Dark Universe Welcome  


Showers of Knowledge is an open outreach educational project that aims to bring internet users worldwide to an analysis of data of the of real online cosmic-rays experiment. It is developed at Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (Dubna, Russia). The project consists of the distributed setup for researching cosmic rays RUSALKA (“mermaid”), comprising 11 stations located in the area of about 0.5 km in diameter; and the interactive internet portal, where users can run a variety of pre-made data analysis scripts with their custom parameters. Our feature is the possibility for users to communicate with real particle physicists developing the project. Website: Showers of Knowledge 


Cazadores de Rayos Gamma is a high energy astrophysics web application where students can analyse data from the MAGIC telescopes using a python programming environment. This outreach application combines a storytelling approach with science and programming challenges for the users. 4 PhD students introduce the user into high energy astrphysics research and the observations and analysis done with the MAGIC telescopes. The user will learn about fundamental physics related to Super Nova Remnants, Black Holes, Dark Matter,… and also about specific astronomical sources such as Casiopea A or the Crab Pulsar. The project was developed at the Institut de Física d’Altes Energies (IFAE) in Barcelona. At the moment only a spanish version is available. But soon it will be translated to other languages. Website: Cazadores de Rayos Gamma 


Cosmic ray outreach in Stockholm: The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) and Stockholm House of Science offer high school projects on cosmic rays to Swedish students in the final year of high school. Muon detectors of different sizes are available for students to borrow, or use in our research labs. The participating students pose their own research questions, which they then test with one or more of our muon detectors. As part of this project a muon detector is launched on a weather balloon once a year to measure the cosmic ray flux at altitudes up to 35 000 km. The data from each flight is collected in a database which is freely available to anyone interested in collaborating with us. Website: Info kosmisk strålning


QuarkNet-TW started in 2006. While we have worked with both high school and university students, most participants have been university students. We have prepared full usage of raspberry pi and python programs. (Using the QuarkNet detector is included in the senior course "Experiment for Modern Physics" by the Physics Department of National Cheng Kung University.) However, we are moving QuarkNet-TW to the Taipei Astronomical Museum (TAM) which is more practical for high school students. In addition to uploading data to e-Lab, students can analyze and view their data in real time. Extensions to astronomy become possible at TAM, and interested students can do some hands-on experiments related to electrical engineering.


Detecting Cosmic Rays – possible student projects: Three portable scintillation telescopes, each comprising a pair of scintillators, have been constructed, following the QuarkNet design, in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Birmingham. These telescopes can be set up and used conveniently by students to measure the flux of cosmic rays; its dependence on distance between the scintillators, on zenith angle and on height (e.g. on the successive floors of a building). Results can also be stored and analysed using standard QuarkNet software. These telescopes , with worksheets outlining possible investigations, can be borrowed by schools and colleges for student projects. For more information, please contact :
Website: Login as a guest to view Birmingham QuarkNet Project  

High School Project on Astrophysics Research with Cosmics (HiSPARC) is a project in which secondary schools and academic institutions join forces and form a network to measure cosmic rays with extremely high energy. HiSPARC offers students the opportunity to participate in real research, with the purpose of finding out more about these mysterious and rare cosmic particles. Schools purchase HiSPARC detectors and students install these on the roofs of their school. The HiSPARC project started in the Netherlands in 2002. The HiSPARC detectors are connected to a central computer at the scientific institute Nikhef in Amsterdam through the internet, forming a large network. The project is coordinated from Nikhef in Amsterdam. The project spread to the UK in 2012 with first the Universities of Bristol, Bath and Birmingham. The project has recently spread to the Universities of Cardiff and Sussex. Website: HiSPARC  

QuarkNet Cymru builds on existing STEM programmes linked with HiSPARC and QuarkNet and a programme to pilot the use of cosmic ray detectors in schools across South Wales. Since January 2016, the project has tried to enthuse secondary school students in STEM activities through engagement in real hands-on astrophysics experiments — measuring cosmic rays using detectors based in schools. Equipment is available for loan to those schools that need A level particle physics laboratory equipment. A website will eventually act as a repository of the resources for using the detectors in the classroom, and as a collaborative learning space where schools can upload their data and work together to analyse their results. Website: QuarkNet Cymru 


Cosmic Ray e-Lab Studies: provide opportunities for high school students to conduct their own scientific investigations either with data they collected themselves or with data from their peers. QuarkNet teachers receive a kit to build a portable, configurable classroom detector; non-QuarkNet educators can purchase the DAQ with GPS, antenna and temperature and pressure sensors. They can buy the rest of the parts commercially. The browser-based e-Lab provides analysis tools for four different studies and a guided inquiry instructional tool complete with student and teacher pages. To access the e-Lab educators request accounts; they create accounts for their students. The Data Portfolio provides additional classroom activities that develop student knowledge and skills needed to complete their scientific investigation.
Websites: Login as a guest to view Cosmic Ray e-Lab   and to access Data. |   Data Portfolio  |   QuarkNet Project