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August 1, 2012

Physics instructor teaches outreach program in China


outreach program in ChinaWorking with educators from Fermi National Laboratories near Chicago, IL to bring advanced topics in physics to high school students, Cowley College physics instructor Martin Shaffer recently had an opportunity to teach an outreach program to students and teachers in China.

Shaffer was in China July 13-28 as part of a team from FermiLab, who was invited by the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics China. This was the first ever such program offered for teachers and students in China.

During this program, over 60 students and teachers learned how to bring high energy physics into high school using real particles and data. The first week emphasized the particle colliders like the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in Switzerland and included a tour through Bejing’s BEPCII collider. Using data from the LHC, students learned to identify and conduct research on particles physics.

During the second week, the students were introduced to cosmic rays, built their own cosmic ray detector and presented their research at a poster session to physicists, teachers and other students.  During downtime, Shaffer, and other members of the group, were able to visit some of China’s most famous sites including the Summer Palace, the Forgotten City and the Great Wall.

Shaffer is currently conducting a similar workshop at the University of Oklahoma to teachers in Oklahoma.