Liz Quigg

Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory • MS226 • Box 500 • Batavia, IL 60510 • 630 840-2631 •

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Quarks to Quasars

Quarks to Quasars is a program for middle level and high school students to learn about the world of particle physics. They visit four rooms at the Lederman Science Center: Tools: Accelerators, Tools: Detectors, Methods: Collisions and Scattering, and Ideas where they use hands-on exhibits to develop an understanding of the operations and experiments that take place in the Fermilab accelerator and detector halls. I collaborated with Education Office staff and teacher in the design of all the exhibits. With their help, I developed the following multimedia stations. Those that were originally developed with videodiscs have been converted to DVD-based exhibits. Fermilab's Visual Media Services (VMS) produced the video. She used touchscreens for many of these. The graphic on the right shows how these are housed in kiosks or stations with backsplashes. In exhibits without computer control, we use lighted buttons and controllers from Museum Technology.



Accelerator Kiosk

Accelerator Kiosk

The Accelerator Kiosk in the Tools: Accelerators Room provides an introduction to the accelerators and particle beams produced for the experiments. The Education Office staff wrote the script and the kiosk is dedicated to Sue Mendelsohn, one of those staff members. It uses a touchscreen connected to a DVD player. The DVD combines video and animations created with Macromedia Flash. The original version of this exhibit used a videodisc with video segments come from Visual Media Services and was authored with SuperCard and Macromedia Director.

Animations: Liz Quigg and David Mackenzie
Video: David Mackenzie and Jim Shultz (VMS)
DVD Authoring: LIz Quigg


Accelerator Kiosk

Particle Graffiti

Particle Graffiti

Particle Graffiti sits in the Methods: Collisions and Scattering Room. The users play a game in which they identify W, Z, Jet and Junk Events from real CDF data. During the game, Drasko Jovanovic give students audio feedback. Physicist Jim Freeman provided the CDF events. Animations provide background on how to identify the particles. It was implemented in Macromedia Director.


Particle Graffiti

Primordial Soup

Primordial Soup

Primordial Soup in the Ideas Room introduces students to the concept that everyday matter was a Primordial Soup shortly after the Big Bang. By turning a crank to add energy and go back in time, students watch video showing the progression of matter through four stages: atoms, electrons and nuclei, electrons and nucleons (protons and neutrons), quarks and electrons and other particles that existed just before the Big Bang. Students learn physicists use the Tevatron to create conditions similar to those in the early Universe to see some of the particles found in Primordial Soup.

Primordial Soup Tabletop

The exhibit uses a progammable microcontroller developed by electrical engineer Paul C. Czarapata of the Accelerator Division. It polls input from the control panel on the tabletop and controls the DVD, Teknova decoder for closed captioning, and the display lights on the tabletop. Jim Shultz of Visual Media Services created the 3D graphics and animations on networked Macintoshes. Astrophysicist Rocky Kolb and I wrote the script for the videodisc segments. Visual Media Services produced the video and videodisc using a AVID digital video system on a Macintosh. In the video, Christine and Jeffrey Kolb are the guides and tell users about their father's interest in the Primordial Soup. Closed Captioning in English and Spanish was done offsite by TekNova. The first version of this exhibit used a videodisc and a controller from Museum Technology. With the advent of DVDs, we transferred the video to a DVD and switched the videodisc controller to Museum Technology DVD controller.


E=mc2 or Calculating the Mass of the Top Quark


This interactive computer activity introduces students to the concept of E=mc2. Students see a top quark event from the D0 Detector and the accompanying data with which they can calculate the mass of the top quark. They use an onscreen calculator to perform a simple calculation, adding up the energy of all the particles, created by the decay of the top quarks, and dividing by two. The production of the top quarks from the collision of a proton and antiproton is compared to the production of two steel balls from the collision of two Ping Pong balls. Students weigh and measure the size of a Ping Pong ball and steel ball on the tabletop. An Einstein puppet appears throughout the computer activity. Also available are Director movies explaining what a GeV is, various views of the data (lego, CTC, endview, RZ-View), and three-D renderings of the calorimeter by D0 physicist, Saul Youssef, of Florida State University. It is implemented in Macromedia Director. Check out a more advanced activity, Calculating the Mass of the Top Quark.

E=mc2 Tabletop

Four Forces

Four Forces

The touchscreen computer exhibit, the Four Forces, is a game that allows students to learn about each of the four forces by asking them to drag new slabs onto the face of Fermilab's Wilson Hall. During the activity, a Force Fiend randomly enters and takes away one of the four forces. Seeing the consequences of the loss of each force provides a graphic idea of the relative importance of each of the four forces to hold our world together. Fermilab theorists provided invaluable input. Physicists G. P. Yeh and Boaz Klima provided postscript files of events for the graphics on the backsplash. It was implemented in Macromedia Director.

Four Forces Tabletop

Inner Space / Outer Space

Powers of Ten

Two stations in the Ideas Room allow students to access the Powers of Ten video by Charles Eames. One station covers Inner Space and the other, Outer Space. With proper permissions, we transferred the video to videodisc and added closed captioning in English and Spanish. Using push buttons from Museum Technology on the tabletop, students can choose to play sections of the video describing the different scales of nature.

Inner Space Outer Space


Searching for the Building Blocks of Matter

This exhibit was a wall-mounted set of text and graphics that introduced visitors to the 15th Floor of Wilson Hall to the physics and experiments at Fermilab. A committee of physicists and Fermilab employees developed the content for the exhibit. It no longer is on display, but the content can be viewed on the web or on a CD-Rom available from the Lederman Science Center.