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Physics Spotlight

The $100 muon detector

A doctoral student and his adviser designed a tabletop particle detector they hope to make accessible to budding young engineering physicists.

Laura Dattaro | Symmetry Magazine
August 19, 2016

When Spencer Axani was an undergraduate physics student, his background in engineering led him to a creative pipe dream: a pocket-sized device that could count short-lived particles called muons all day.

Muons, heavier versions of electrons, are around us all the time, a byproduct of the cosmic rays that shoot out from supernovae and other high-energy events in space. When particles from those rays hit Earth’s atmosphere, they often decay into muons.
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