Neutrinos in the Classroom

In these exercises, students will study events in which a muon coming to rest inside the MINERvA detector subsequently undergoes a radioactive decay in mere microseconds.

Muon Radioactive Decay

Students learn how to identify radioactive decay events and get a feel for the random nature of the decay process. Later, a more quantitative analysis can measure the half-life of the muon. Students also examine the energies of the electrons to gain insight into the decay mechanism.

Arachne Event Display

The sample event above shows a muon beta decay. The second "time slice" in this event contains a muon skidding to a halt in the material of the MINERvA detector. The third time slice reveals a 35 Mega-electron-Volt electron emmitted by the muon when it decays radioactively 2.45 microseconds after it stopped in the detector.

This exercise provides a library of these decay events for your students to analyze.

Analyzing the Muon Lifetime

Essential Questions

Activities and Resources

Radioactive decay of muons

Essential Questions

Activities and Resources

Advanced: The Mechanics of Muon Decay

Essential Questions

Activities and Resources

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0619727 to the University of Rochester with a subaward to the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Additional contributions by Otterbein University.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

University of Rochester University of Minnesota, Duluth Otterbein University