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 interconnects well with such curricula.

This program will instruct students through lectures, guest speakers, and laboratory experiments. Students will fabricate a cloud chamber which can be used to perform basic measurements of cosmic ray abundances. Lecture material will cover topics from radioactivity, particle physics, and cosmology. Students will leave well-equipped to articulate their interests in the language that will be most advantageous to chances of 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: learn how cosmic rays make carbon dating possible!

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 $1,995. This includes: program tuition, course materials, lunch daily, and limited social activities as COVID policies allow

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.

Contact Us

Questions? Contact us at (617) 373-2200 or [email protected]