Messengers from Space: Cosmic rays as a window to modern physics

Cosmic rays are an entrance point for a great many important, but simple, concepts in modern physics. Students will be exposed to theoretical material that is rarely a part of AP Physics courses in high schools, but which will interconnects well with such programs.

This program will instruct students through lectures, field-trips, and guest speakers. Students will fabricate a cosmic ray detector that will allow them to evaluate their increase radiation exposure in every day situations, and will leave well-equipped to articulate their interests in the language that will be most advantageous to chances at admission to top universities.

Learning Outcomes

This program will allow students to encounter:


The discovery of anti-matter (if we're lucky, we'll find some in our cloud chamber on day #3!!)

Special relativity

Special relativity particularly the effect of time-dilation

Particle physics

Simple concepts in elementary particle physics

Big-Bang Neucleosynthesis

The origin of heavy elements in the early universe - so called Big-Bang Neucleosynthesis


Radiation safety and the effect of radiation on human tissue. SIDE BONUS: use your muon detector on an airplane to measure your increased exposure at altitude!

Program Prerequisite

Students should understand the basic concepts of physics such as the topics of linear momentum and its conservation, and the conservation of energy in collisions. Students should also at least know the basics of trigonometry, but calculus is not required.

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Program Tuition

The program tuition is $5,895.

About Northeastern University

Northeastern is a top ranking experiential research university that prides itself on academic rigor, a diverse and talented population of students and faculty, and a powerful learning model that combines the classroom experience with hands-on work experience.

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