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INTERNATIONAL COLLABORATION EUROCOSMICS

EuroCosmics is a network of research institutes and high-schools across Europe to study the physics, properties and origin of cosmic rays: very energetic subatomic particles reaching the Earth from deep space. Such studies provide a rich context for science education and allow students and science teachers to participate directly in actual research projects.

In the EuroCosmics network, cosmic rays are studied with particle detectors placed at schools and research laboratories. Detectors are being designed which are advanced enough to satisfy present-day scientific requirements and simple enough that they can be constructed by high-school students under supervision of scientists and/or technical staff at universities and research institutes. The large network of detectors will allow the fluxes of particles at different places to be correlated in space and time. With the help of specific software tools much of the data analysis can be performed by high-school students guided by science teachers or university staff with only a moderate amount of preparation.

EuroCosmics is a collaboration of independent projects in different European countries, each having its own specifications and mode of operation. By participating in the EuroCosmics network they are committed to sharing educational, scientific and technical expertise, as well as data and material.

List of participants:

1 (Coordinator) FOM-Nikhef, The Netherlands
2 Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium
3 Czech Technical University, Czech Republic
4 University of Arhus, Denmark
5 University of Jyvaskyla, Finland
6 Bergische Universitat Wuppertal, Germany
7 Hellenic Open University, Greece
8 University of Catania, Italy
9 A.Soltan Institute for Nuclear Studies, Poland
10 Instituto Superior Tecnico, LIP, Portugal
11 Institute for Space Science, Romania
12 Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, Russia
13 Alcala University, Spain
14 Kungliga Tekniska Hogskolan, Sweden
15 University of Sheffield, UK


The all-important goal of the EuroCosmics project is to improve the quality and effectiveness of science education in Europe by creating co-ordinated action to make use of distributed knowledge and experience. At the same time, the school-based network will enable the collection of a unique set of scientific data to correlate cosmic ray fluxes over a very large geographical area. The resulting interaction between scientists and science teachers, research institutes and high-schools offers great possibilities for developing new approaches to science education. Cosmic ray physics is a discipline at the border of particle physics and astronomy, sciences which generally capture the attention of large audiences. It is directly linked to the structure of matter, the origin of the chemical elements and the structure and history of the Universe. The specific knowledge and experience addressed in the project relate to particle detection methods including physical principles of particle registration, electronics and numerical methods of analysis. These methods and techniques have much wider applications than cosmic ray research only. For example, particle detection techniques have many applications in the domain of modern medicine. In the EuroCosmics project the combined experience from different participants, using different methods and technical solutions as well as different educational approaches, will increase the quality of research and teaching.

Project DEMOS MEPhI, Russia

DEMOS (DEtectors of MOscow Schools) is a project for the creation of a large area school-based cosmic ray detector in Moscow. DEMOS will be developed as a remote part of NEVOD-EAS array which is under construction at MEPhI experimental site NEVOD, which includes a large water Cherenkov calorimeter (2000 m3) and coordinate-tracking detector DECOR (115 m2 area) for study of the main components of cosmic rays at the Earths surface. The NEVOD-EAS shower array is being created within the framework of MEPhI-JINR (Joint Institute for Nuclear Researche, Dubna) collaboration whith financial support of Russian Foundation of Basic Research (RFBR) and will represent the system of scintillation counters 1 m2 area each, distributed over the area of 0.3 km2 in MEPhI campus. The counter has the form of truncated pyramid with 5 cm thick scintillator at the bottom and the photomultiplier with front-end electronics at the top. Cluster of 4 counters connected with local data acquisition and GPS-based timing synchronisation system is the basic element of the shower array. Clusters are mounted on the roofs of university laboratory buildings located inside the campus. In the frame of the DEMOS projects, the extension of shower array area due to deploying of additional clusters on the roofs of high-schools surrounding MEPhI is foreseen. First stage of project execution (2007 - 2009) includes assembling of three detector clusters at two MEPhI Lycees (high-school level of education with advanced study of physics and mathematics) and one school. Further development (2010-2013) foresees installation of additional clusters of EAS detectors on roofs of 10 Moscow colleges and schools around MEPhI with the aim to cover area about 2 km2, sensitive to energies of primary cosmic rays about 1018 eV. The global task creation of large area cosmic ray detector in the Moscow city boundary (1000 km2) and remote clusters in Moscow region (Dubna, Protvino and others). This experimental setup will be comparable with others outstanding modern detectors aimed at investigations of region of extremely high energies in particle physics and astrophysics. Operation of DEMOS Observatory in the frame of EuroCosmics network will open a new page in basic space investigations.

The development, installation, and maintenance of EAS array will be performed with close participation of MEPhI students. Coordination of teachers and high-school students activity in creation of the local EAS detectors at each school and conduction of local investigations of cosmic rays will be supervised by university scientists.

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