Particle physics in your pocket!
CERN physicists, take out your smartphones! Two new particle physics applications for Android phones have been developed by a physicist from the University of Bern: “Particle Properties” and “Particle Physics Booklet 2010”.
“When I'm on shift, I enjoy looking at the online event displays,” says Igor Kreslo from the Laboratory for High Energy Physics at the University of Bern, the physicist who has developed the two particle physics applications for Android. “Sometimes very beautiful events appear, with many different particles. I like to discuss these displays with my students, just to develop their ability to identify particles. We try to find out which particle is which and how it might decay… I think that's the best way to teach students the phenomenology of particle physics.”
When scientists study particle physics, they require some vital information, such as the decay branching ratios: “details” which are not so easy to remember by heart… “I thought it would be nice to have a handy thing to tell you these numbers,” says Igor. Thus, the idea of the first application was born: an online database for the properties of elementary particles.
“Actually, when you're on shift you have some spare time if everything is going well,” explains Igor. “So while I was on shift at T2K in Japan, I had the opportunity to develop the 'Particle Properties' application. I also decided to create an application for the 'Particle Physics Booklet'*, which I use almost every day.”
Designed at first for physicists in Igor’s laboratory, the two applications met with great success, encouraging Igor to put them on Google Play. “I received some very nice feedback from my colleagues, so I thought that they might be interesting to other physicists too, especially at CERN,” adds Igor. “If people want to send me comments or suggestions for new applications, I would be happy to hear from them, although I should emphasize that I'm not a professional Android programmer - developing applications is just a hobby.” A very useful one, we might add…
*This application is based on the collected work of the Particle Data Group (PDG) with its permission, but is nevertheless not supported by the group.
by Anaïs Schaeffer