Dynamic new app for learning about particle physics now available

December 22, 2014, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Next time you get the itch to check Facebook on your mobile phone, why not scroll through the latest unsolved physics mysteries instead? Now a free app for Android and Apple devices called The Particle Adventure makes checking out the world of quarks, dark matter, and particle accelerators as easy as tapping touchscreen icons.

Produced by the Particle Data Group at Berkeley Lab, The Particle Adventure is based on the popular and highly praised website of the same name. The science of is illustrated via categories including "How Do We Know Any of This?" and "Unsolved Mysteries." You can skim through the major categories or dig deep into topics such as the discovery of the Higgs boson.

Within the app there are five basics adventure paths to take: The Standard Model, Accelerators and Particle Detectors, Higgs Boson Discovered, Unsolved Mysteries, Particle Decays and Annihilations.

The Particle Adventure is filled with cartoons, animations, news of recent physics discoveries, quizzes, quotes, and more. It complements the newly released Fundamental Particles and Interactions chart, which incorporates the major research findings of the past three decades including quarks, the Higgs boson, neutrinos, and the fundamental forces.

The history of The Particle Adventure goes back to 1989 when it was a HyperCard computer program developed to enhance learning from the Fundamental Particles and Interactions chart. In 1995, The Particle Adventure was converted into a dynamic website that receives about 5 million hits a year and has earned recognition from Scientific American, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, The U.S. Department of Energy, USA Today, and others.

Screenshot from The Particle Adventure mobile app

Now, in this world of mobile content and entertainment, The Particle Adventure has been reborn again as a highly rated . "This year alone there were about140 billion mobile app downloads, up from 21 billion in 2011. We're excited to bring The Particle Adventure to the growing audience of mobile app users, and especially the younger audience," says Michael Barnett, Berkeley Lab researcher and lead developer for the app. Berkeley Lab's Paul Schaffner contributed technical expertise on the project.

A number of renowned physicists provided the content for The Particle Adventure App, and physics students were responsible for the design, artwork, and much of the humor, such as cartoon particles trading insults. The collaborative effort to make particle physics approachable via website and seems to be working. One user's comment: "I would never have thought I could teach particle physics to 15 year-old students, but The Particle Adventure has made a believer of me! Your excellent blend of humor, graphics, and science captivated my students, and kept them clicking merrily. Bravo!"

Explore further: Maybe it wasn't the Higgs particle after all

More information: The app can be downloaded for free from the Play Store (Android): play.google.com/store/apps/det … ov.lbl.physics&hl=en

or the App Store (Apple): itunes.apple.com/us/app/the-pa … ure/id924683946?mt=8

Related Stories

Maybe it wasn't the Higgs particle after all

November 7, 2014

Last year CERN announced the finding of a new elementary particle, the Higgs particle. But maybe it wasn't the Higgs particle, maybe it just looks like it. And maybe it is not alone.

Evidence found for the Higgs boson direct decay into fermions

June 22, 2014

For the first time, researchers at CERN have found evidence for the direct decay of the Higgs boson into fermions—another strong indication that the particle discovered in 2012 behaves in the way the standard model of particle ...

What's next for the Large Hadron Collider?

December 17, 2014

The world's most powerful particle collider is waking up from a well-earned rest. After roughly two years of heavy maintenance, scientists have nearly doubled the power of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in preparation for ...

Recommended for you

Coffee-based colloids for direct solar absorption

March 22, 2019

Solar energy is one of the most promising resources to help reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions to power a sustainable future. Devices presently in use to convert solar energy into thermal ...

Physicists reveal why matter dominates universe

March 21, 2019

Physicists in the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University have confirmed that matter and antimatter decay differently for elementary particles containing charmed quarks.

ATLAS experiment observes light scattering off light

March 20, 2019

Light-by-light scattering is a very rare phenomenon in which two photons interact, producing another pair of photons. This process was among the earliest predictions of quantum electrodynamics (QED), the quantum theory of ...

How heavy elements come about in the universe

March 19, 2019

Heavy elements are produced during stellar explosion or on the surfaces of neutron stars through the capture of hydrogen nuclei (protons). This occurs at extremely high temperatures, but at relatively low energies. An international ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.