Lectures: 30 Lectures of 1:15 hrs, Tue - Thu, 2:30-3:45pm in 2120 Chamberlin Hall.
Description of 801 Instrumentation and Methods in Astroparticle Physics: 16 week session (Tue Jan 19 - Thu May 6), 1-3 credits, can be repeated for credits.
(1) illustrate the achievements and the coming decade quests in astrophysics and cosmology. These quests have to do with the energy content of the universe that determines its evolution and the extreme energy phenomena in the Universe;
(2) show past, present and proposed experimental solutions and ideas to address these quests and to open new windows on the universe compared to traditional observations based on electro-magnetic phenomena;
(3) achieve a capacity of evaluation of experiments and techniques; problem solving ability.
The course mainly intends to develop your enthusism for Research and to stimulate your curiosity. It is intended to have fun. Cosmology and Astrophysics are very close fields to Phylosophy and are fundamental in the Human Roadmap towards Knowledge. The course offers flexibility and is open to students with different backgrounds. Expectations will be based also on the background of each student. No one should be dis-couraged by not learning some topic as well as you wished; and anyone should be encouraged to go as far as you can within your ability.
Group study is not only strongly encouraged, but also necessary.
Do ask a lot of questions to me, to yourself and to each other.
The course is designed to introduce students to Astroparticle Physics. The focus will be on Cosmic Rays, on their sources, acceleration mechanisms, stars and supernova, galaxies, gamma, neutrino and proton astronomy, gravitational waves, dark matter.
The Earth's atmosphere is continuously bombarded by a cosmic radiation that extends to energies larger than particles accelerated by LHC. This radiation offers a natural mean to observe the universe. The energy that goes in these particles is an indicator of the energy density of their sources and of the matter content of the universe. What are these powerful accelerators and what are the dark matter and energy in the universe are open questions that have high prioritiy to explain the universe. We will address these questions and use 4 messengers for our explorations. Gravitational waves and neutrinos, at today unobserved, are the longest range messengers that cover the entire universe and have high discovery potential in this coming decade. Photons currently provide all information on the Universe even if, as protons, they allow observations inside a horizon of about 50-100 Mpc. Infact, photons and protons interact with radio, infrared and micro-wave backgrounds. We will focus on GeV-TeV gamma astronomy and will discuss the possibility of performing proton astronomy above 10 EeV when protons are undeflected by magnetic fields.
Initially, we will review special and general relativity and some particle physics concepts that are the basis to understand many of the big questions of this decade such as dark matter and dark energy. We will discuss propagation properties of matter and electromagnetic spectra observed from sources, and acceleration processes.
Detector techniques will be described with the basic aim of identifying which are the instruments that allow the detection of the main particle quantities (mass, energy, charge). Existing, past and proposed experiments will be discussed for each of the topics above. Techniques and data analysis methods will be illustrated through practical examples involving analysis tools, numerical methods and simulations.
Prerequisites: The course is primarily designed for graduate students but is open to undergraduate students after consulting with instructor. A course at the level of Phys 248, 208 or 202 is essential. Phys 736, Phys 535, Phys 735, Phys 717 are useful for a better understanding of interaction radiation with matter, particle physics and relativity. Undergraduate students that may encounter more difficulties during the course are invited to talk to me often for further explanations and additional reading material.
Homeworks: They will be assigned on a biweekly basis and will contain also practical examples that will imply the use of programming tools and analysis frameworks.
Evaluation: the exam evaluation will be based on HWs, class discussions and Final Exam.
Final Presentation/Group project: Tue. May 11, 2:30pm, Ch 5310. Another session is scheduled (for those that canno make it on May 11) on Fri. 30 at 1 pm, in my office Ch 4112.
The final exam will consist in a project that students can decide to develop in small groups of maximum 3 people. The group will be defined about a month before the exam date. During the exam each student will present a part of the project through slides or through the description of a web page.
Students can chose to develop a description of a project dedicated to one of the items discussed in class. The project description should include a detector design and the definition of the goals of the experiment. In alternative the group can chose a project that we can agree on in advance, for instance, using an experimental observation published by an experiment using an astronomical messenger, derive a prediction for the observation using some other astronomy messenger. Eg. If a gamma detector has measured a certain flux from a source, the project can consist to describe the characteristics of this source, and of the gamma observations, and from the measured gamma flux derive the flux in neutrinos and how many events an existing or planned neutrino telescope could measure. Similar connections can be made between neutrinos/photons and GWs.