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Particle Adventure

Rating: 5 stars
Used in Course: Not used in course
Submitted by: Chris Wolowiec (Student), Nov 28, 2000
Comment: This comprehensive and interactive tutorial serves not only as an introduction to the types and characteristics of the fundamental particles in nature but also as a primer for experimental methods relating to particle physics. A moderately fast reading of Michael Barnett's particle Adventure requires about three hours of one's time. The tutorial begins with a presentation of the types and characteristics of the most fundamental particles that comprise the Standard Model. The presentation includes a discussion of every known fundamental particle of nature including the matter and anti-matter particles such as quarks and leptons as well as the force-interaction type particles such as photons, gluons, and the hypothetical graviton.
Quizzes appear at the end of most of the major sections of Barnett's tutorial allowing one to test his/her understanding of the preceding material. In addition, Barnett has scattered bits of particle physics trivia and comic relief throughout the adventure keeping the tutorial fresh and human. I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions.
For persons such as myself who have some basic prior knowledge of the types and characteristics of the different fundamental particles, perhaps the most appealing aspect of Barnett's tutorial are the sections on experimental design and technique. Many undergraduate physics majors have little opportunity to familiarize themselves with experimental methods associated with particle physics experimentation and particle acceleration.The latter portion of the tutorial addresses such topics. These include basic experimental design, different types of particle accelerators, the major accelerators used around the world today and their respective discoveries, and the acquistion and interpretation of data. Thus, Barnett's tutorial is successful in removing the mysteries associated with high energy physics.

Technical Remarks:

I recommend downloading the Macromedia setup that allows one to scroll through the table of contents. This facilitates movement throughout the tutorial as without the table of contents, one's movement throughout the adventure is limited to one page at a time.