Day 149: Mass of the Top Quark

In AP Physics B, we are in the middle of an abbreviated particle physics unit. Since we are so close to Fermilab, I feel compelled to introduce students to the history of particle physics and the organization of the Standard Model. Fermilab has a number of fantastic activities that are prelabs for the Particle Physics Masterclass. Today, we used data from the D-Zero detector to calculate the mass of the top quark. It is fantastic to use data from D-Zero and to walk through the identification and calculations involved in a collision event. It is also a great way to “trick” students into reviewing and practicing 2D conservation of momentum problems in preparation for the AP exam! The results were fantastic. The average of two classes of data was within 1 GeV of the mass of the top quark.


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