High School Teachers





 An Introduction to Particle Physics Using

  Bubble Chamber Pictures


If you are :

  • Interested in “seeing” the invisible?

  • Want your students to make their own observations and analyses, much like a scientist?

  • Want to know more about what is happening in modern physics research?

Then studying bubble chamber pictures is for you (and your students)!

Bubble chamber pictures offer students a very visual, qualitative introduction to particle physics.  In addition, they offer some insights regarding basic ideas that many modern physicists apply in research today.  Many students find these pictures to be beautiful visual displays of science “in action.”

Not only can bubble chamber pictures introduce students to particle physics, but they can offer an opportunity for students to review and apply concepts they have learned including:

  • Conservation of energy

  • Conservation of momentum

  • Conservation of charge

  • Behavior of charged particles in a magnetic field

They also give students a chance to practice various skills, including:

  • Pattern recognition—recognising patterns and deciding which events are “interesting”, the task of today's modern detectors

  • Problem solving in physics using limited (or no) mathematics

The CERN HST Bubble Chamber website contains a tutorial for teachers on bubble chambers, including three practice exercises (with answers), a photo gallery, and lesson ideas.

If you have comments and/or suggestions please send them to Gron Tudor Jones, HST Bubble Chamber project director.


© CERN and High School Teachers Programme at CERN. 

Last modified:  18/2/2007