Material Detail

Particle Adventure

Particle Adventure

Tutorials on fundamentals of nuclear and particle physics. Many foreign language versions available.


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Sheila Dodson
Sheila Dodson (Student)
22 years ago
The Particle Adventure is an incredible ride!! It is a journey that begins
with an atom and ends by giving you a complete understanding of particle physics
and the standard model. Each facet of the theory is explained simply, yet
elegantly such that it can be understood by a physics novice or phd.
The beauty of this web site is that it assumes that you have absolutely no
previous knowledge about particle physics, so it explains step by step the
various particles and interactions. In addition it provides the logic behind
the theories and some evidence of experimental confirmation of the theories.
The end result is a well-organized, well-explained site that does not "dummy
down" the information. The combination of this, and the wonderful sense of
humor thrown in by the author(s) yields a fun, and informative adventure. By
the time you are throug exploring this site you will have a complete
understanding of the subatomic particles, and the forces that mediate their
interactions. This allows you to understand why science has adopted the
theories that it currently holds, and where physicists can go from there.
The site is a little long, but as I have mentioned it is well worth it, so pack
a sandwich, get comfortable and prepair to embark on a tour of the subatomic
Ian Clark
Ian Clark (Student)
22 years ago
If you are looking for a description and history of every major discovery in
atomic and subatomic physics for the last century this sight is for you. The
majority of the sight is set up in a tour format, and includes everything from
radioactivity to annihilation to a brief description of quantum mechanics. All
descriptions are qualitative and assume no prior knowledge of physics or math,
yet still manage to be relatively satisfying.

My favorite feature is that the welcome and home pages both contain links to
several articles on current research in the field. Once you have developed some
sense of the subject by reading through the body of the sight you can come back
and read about some of the most recent developments in more depth.

The only complaint I could think of is about the format. The particle adventure
is a lengthy one (I lost count after, 2 hours and 50 pages) and it would be
nice to have a linked index on, or linked to the homepage, in addition to the
back/forward arrows on each screen. This is however a small issue and should by
no means dissuade anyone from visiting this sight. Overall it is a very
informative and well constructed sight.

Technical Remarks:

It is apparent from the start that a lot of time and skill went into the
construction of this sight. The page layout is aesthetically appealing and
there are several interesting Java script animations. I found that the page
layout was more than a little cramped when viewed with Netscape 6.0, though
older versions of Netscape seemed to work perfectly.
Chris Wolowiec
Chris Wolowiec (Student)
22 years ago
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.
Donald Hornback
Donald Hornback (Student)
22 years ago
After having spent roughly three hours going through every page of the particle
adventure, I have to take my hat off to Michael Barnett and company at the
Lawrence Berkeley Laboratories. They have managed to create an interesting and
informative introduction to particle physics with much humor and virtually no
math. The Standard Model is run through as thoroughly as a newcomer can
possibly absorb in an inital dose. From leptons to hadrons, fermions to bosons,
photons to gluons, all of the "major" particles are covered in this adventure.
The four interactions (3!?) are also discussed plainly and clearly, as are
particle decays and the machines that humanity has constructed to study them.

The multitude of usually funny cartoons keeps the mood decidedly upbeat. Things
do occasionally get a little Sesame Street-like (I cite the ?mu-on Lion? and
the ?tau tiger?) in an attempt to keep things lighthearted. I understand and
appreciate the effort to keep things simple, but it could only improve the
educational value of the site if more of the links offered some advanced
coverage of the material--though I am sure that hand-waving is probably the only
viable teaching technique available to the particle physicist at this level.

Reviewing this site for a junior level modern physics course at Humboldt State
University, this is the first study of particle physics I have ever undertaken
(apart from blazing through a copy of the "Tao of Physics"). I learned a lot
from my paticle adventure, although some of the material covered will keep me
scratching my head for a long time to come.

Technical Remarks:

I found the site very easy to manage. I do wish there were a set of
next/previous page buttons at the bottom of the pages so that I didn?t have to
keep scrolling back to the top, but that is a minor point.
John Walkup
John Walkup (Staff)
22 years ago
Anyone interested in particle physics should visit this site. Professionally
done, and very thorough.