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ERIC Number: EJ943427
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jul
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 5
ISSN: ISSN-0031-9120
A Bubble Chamber Simulator: A New Tool for the Physics Classroom
Gagnon, Michel
Physics Education, v46 n4 p443-450 Jul 2011
Mainly used in the 1960s, bubble chambers played a major role in particle physics. Now replaced with modern electronic detectors, we believe they remain an important didactic tool to introduce particle physics as they provide visual, appealing and insightful pictures. Sadly, this rare type of detector is mostly accessible through open-door events only. To overcome this drawback, we have developed a realistic computer-based simulator to replicate the actual equipment. Using this software, students and instructors are able to obtain randomly created computer-simulated images comparable to real-life ones. We have successfully used this software in our mechanics, electromagnetism and modern physics courses to illustrate the effect of a magnetic field on charged particles, to exemplify relativistic mechanics and to discuss the conservation of energy, momentum and quantum numbers in particle collisions. It also provides original examples for students to practise their ability to identify the particles involved, thereby gaining a better understanding of the underlying physical laws. The software is available as a free download. (Contains 4 figures.)
Institute of Physics Publishing. The Public Ledger Building Suite 929, 150 South Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 215-627-0880; Fax: 215-627-0879; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: High Schools; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A