Superposition: physicists and artists in conversation

Drift dark matter detectors

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I thought that a trip to the science museum might help show up some historical imagery of the scientific process that I might be able to use to explain aspects of particle physics. To my disappointment there was very little to do with particle physics in the science museum - they have far more at the Museum Of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Manchester! We did lay eyes on one of the Drift dark matter detectors which had been moved from its original home in the Boulby salt mines in Yorkshire. The historical 18th C gallery really caught Lyndalls attention - I too have always loved the handcraft orreries and lab equipment. In the surroundings of brass and hand blown glass we sat and I got my laptop out to show Lyndall some more particle detectors. We went into detail about the technologies involved in each detector and how they 'saw' particles. Lyndall showed me pictures of scintillating fibres and I talked about how certain materials produced wither light (scintillation) or electric charge (ionisation) to tell us of the presence of particles.


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