Advanced Laboratory (PH 491)
Spring 2010

Instructor: Andreas Piepke (202A Gallalee; 348-6066)
Time and place: Monday 11:00 am to 12:15 pm in room 202 as per agreement (Gallalee Hall).
Office hours: 10:00 am to 12:00 am Wednesday. I have an open door policy. You may see me whenever I am in.
Texts used: Review of Particle Physics, available on-line
W.R. Leo, Techniques for Nuclear and Particle Physics Experiments, second edition
T.K. Gaisser, Cosmic Rays and Particle Physics
Purchase of any of these books is NOT required. If you can't find them in the library they may be obtained from me.
Prerequisite: PH 255
Credit: 3 hours
PH491 Web site:

Learning Objectives:

This semester PH491 will be taught as a hands-on introduction to the detection of cosmic radiation. The students will work on the commissioning of a large cosmic ray detector system installed underground in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, near Carlsbad (NM). The system consists of more than 20 large plastic scintillation detectors. The detectors itself, as well as its data taking and control system has been set-up previously through several undergraduate research projects at UA. In this class the students should learn about radiation detection techniques and data analysis. Goal of the project is to provide data that will allow us to assess the functionality of the detectors as installed and to measure the flux of cosmic ray muons underground.

Class Format:

Because of the small size, the class it will be organized as an independent study class. Two teams will work on the data taking hardware and the on preparing the analysis software. Students are expected to give at least two PowerPoint presentations showing the status of their work during the class period. These presentations will be given in the framework of our regular research group meetings Fridays at 1:00 pm. These presentations will be graded count as homeworks (50% towards the final grade). No other homeworks will be given.

Attendance and Makeup Policy:

Students are expected to attend the Monday and Friday meetings.


Every student will write a research paper at the end of the semester to document the research work and results achieved during the semester. Each student will present his/her research report in the group meeting on 4/30/2010.

Grading Policy

Letter Grade
Numerical Grade

(Min. percentage points)




Superior ability or attainment significantly beyond all minimum expectations (93%)






Good ability or attainment which meets and exceeds many minimum expectations (83%)






Ability or attainment which is acceptable and meets all minimum (required) expectations (73%)






Ability or attainment which does not meet all minimum (required) expectations (63%)




Attainment of some but not a number of important minimum expectations and is, thus, not appropriate for a minimum professional level of performance (0-59%).

Academic Misconduct

Students are expected to follow the Code of Student Conduct, as laid down by The University of Alabama. All acts of dishonesty in any work constitute academic misconduct. In particular each student is expected to do his/her own work on quizzes and exams. Suspected violators of this policy will be referred to the Dean's Office in the College of Arts and Sciences. Students are encouraged to work together when studying and preparing for homework.

Disability Accommodations

To request disability accommodations, please contact Disability Services (348-4285). After initial arrangements are made with that office, contact Dr. Piepke.