Physics Factor Research Club

23 November 2018

Members of the Wednesday afternoon Physics Factor research club discussed progress on analysing data from the 'Matter from Light' project with Professor Steven Rose of Imperial College and Dr Peter Hatfield of Oxford University.

The project is one of a number being co-ordinated for the Institute for Research in Schools by the Abingdon Science Partnership. Professor Rose is a Principal Investigator on the project which is funded by the Science and Technology Research Council. Prof Rose was particularly pleased to be able to visit the YSC as his own son is an OA who left 15 years ago, well before the newest school buildings existed.

Experimental work has been carried out at the Central Laser Facility on the Harwell Campus and Physics Factor club members are now devising methods to analyse the data produced in order to help find a signal from the Breit-Wheeler process. This was predicted theoretically over 80 year ago but has never been observed.

The team at Imperial College have devised a method for doing the experiment which uses Timepix radiation detectors to measure the production of positrons in the process. Proving that the signal detected is due to these positrons is very difficult though and relies on repeating the experiment hundreds of times and looking for small, statistical differences.

Having already developed some expertise in using the Timepix detector and analysing its output, the Physics Factor team have been tasked with helping to carry out the analysis of this large data set in the hope of finding an effect never before seen in Physics.

See more of the latest news