P433_Manual_ch1-2 - 1 Introduction These notes contain some...

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1 Introduction These notes contain some introductory material on the physics underlying the experiments you will be doing and the detectors that you will be using. It is not at all complete and should be used as a guide to further reading in the text and in other references. Experiments and other laboratory observations are suggested. An important goal of the course is to encourage you to gain some understanding of how the physical processes involved in particle interactions with matter affect our ability to measure certain properties of particles and their interactions. An equally important issue that we will emphasize, when appropriate, is the statistical aspects of particle counting and detection. It is hoped that as a result of this class you will gain some insights into how large-scale high-energy experiments and precise nuclear physics experiments are carried out, although the experiments done here are neither. We are trying to keep the laboratory up-to-date in that the instrumentation and detectors that you will be using are similar to those that have been used in recent "real" experiments. 1.1 The Experiments None of the experiments are set up for you in advance. You will have to set up the instrumentation for making the measurements and check that it works. In some cases you will even assemble the detectors. In many instances "making it all work" is 90% of the effort; this is not unlike "real life" in high-energy and nuclear physics experiments. Some experiments are not very precise; in some cases a qualitative observation and some physical insight are all that is possible; in other cases quantitative conclusions are expected but in all experiments the statistical precision should be understood. You may find that the descriptions of the experiments in these notes are not very explicit; they are definitely not written in "cook-book" style and in some cases they pose more questions than they answer. This style of presentation is deliberate; you are expected to understand or figure out the steps as you proceed with the set up. There should be a continual dialogue between you and your lab partner(s) and between you and the TA as you work out the best way to make observations and to check that they are reliable.
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In some cases you will certainly have to repeat the measurements, perhaps using a more appropriate gain or voltage or a better set-up. In the cases of the first few experiments there is no pressure to complete any particular amount of material each week but you should avoid falling too far behind since that may cause scheduling difficulties later. 1.2 Laboratory Procedures Both you and your lab partner(s) should share in the setting up, data taking, and checking. You should never assume that the set-up as you find it is correct or useful; start over. The power must always be off on crates when you add or remove modules. It goes without saying high voltage supplies should be off when you connect or remove cables. At the end of the lab period you must remove all cables and return them to
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P433_Manual_ch1-2 - 1 Introduction These notes contain some...

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