HiSPARC is a project in which secondary schools and academic institutions join forces and form a network to measure cosmic rays with extremely high energy. HiSPARC offers students the opportunity to participate in real research, with the purpose of finding out more about these mysterious and rare cosmic particles. Schools purchase HiSPARC detectors and students install these on the roofs of their school.
The HiSPARC project started in the Netherlands in 2002. The HiSPARC detectors are connected to a central computer at the scientific institute Nikhef in Amsterdam through the internet, forming a large network. The project is coordinated from Nikhef in Amsterdam. It is only since 2012 that it came to the UK with first the Universities of Bristol and Birmingham. The University of Birmingham joined the project in September 2013, with the lead academic being Professor Cristina Lazzeroni.
We are currently working with thirteen schools around the Midlands. Some of these schools have purchased their own detectors and some are just renting a detector or using data from other detectors.
For information on participation in the project please contact Professor Cristina Lazzeroni.
Every year all participating schools are invited to the annual HiSPARC Conference. The venue changes from year to year. Please contact the University you liaise with for more details.
HiSPARC summer placements
Students who have just finished their first year in A level physics can apply for a summer placement work on the HiSPARC project. Students have worked full-time in the School of Physics and Astronomy since summer 2014. Depending on the placement, the research could be eligible for the Gold CREST award. Examples of research work completed during the summer 2015 can be seen below: