P3 Particle Physics Playground

Particle Physics Playground provides simplified data and python tools, that allow you to interact with real particle physics data. Run in your browser using Google Colab!

First Activity! Jump in right away!
Card image cap Card image cap Card image cap
Google Colab Folder! See all the activities here!

help_outline How To Use This Website

This website allows you to interact with particle physics data from the LHC and other accelerators/experiments.

The datasets are provided in HDF5 files and python tools are provided that allow for quick and easy access to those datasets. We have made available tutorials on how to interact with this data, tutorials on the data structures themselves, and tutorials on the physics knowledge you need to have much fun!

You can start playing with all of this in two different ways. Short instructional videos of how to use either of these methods are provided below.

  • Click on any of the individual activities or tutorials below to start running the code on Google's Colab project. You can edit and run code directly in your browser and save your work to your Google Drive. Easy peasy!
  • Go to the Github repo and clone the repository to your laptop/desktop (or download a .zip or .tar file of the project) and work locally.
View on GitHub Download Zip Download Tar View Data Files

First time here?

Here's some tutorials to get you started!

Here are 5 videos that will allow you to learn, and understand the data and experiments. Watch for a step-by-step tutorial!

star_border Particle Physics Background and Activities

We've provided you with some sample Jupyter Notebooks tutorials and activities in the repository, so you can poke around and see what you're getting yourself into. Just click on any of the buttons below to go to that Notebook running in Google Colab. If you're not sure how to run these, check out this video tutorial.

You can also download the entire repository (see how to do this above) and run all these exercises locally.

We've broken these Notebooks up into 5 categories: Physics Background, Experiments and Data, Code Background, Activities, and Want More?

Card image cap
High Momentum Particles

Below, you can learn how special relativity relates to the kinematics of high momentum particles.

How it Relates
Card image cap
Particle and Detector Interaction

Below, you can learn what particles live long enough to interact directly with a detector and what particles need to be reconstructed from their decay products.

Particles and Reconstruction

Card image cap
CMS Experiment

An introduction to the CMS experiment and a very quick look at how to access its data.

CMS Experiment
Card image cap
CLEO Experiment

An introduction to the CLEO-II experiment and a quick look at how to access its data.

CLEO Experiment
Card image cap
BaBar Experiment

BAn introduction to the BaBar experiment and a quick look at how to access its data.

BaBar Experiment
Card image cap
IceCube Experiment

An introduction to the IceCube experiment and a quick look at how to access its data.

IceCube Experiment
Card image cap
Sloan Digitial Sky Survey (SDSS) - COMING SOON!

An introduction to SDSS experiment and a quick look at how to access its data.

SDSS Experiment

Code Background for Activities

An explanation and example of the data model for the all data used in these activities.

Data and Models

Identifying Particles

The link will take you to an activity that will allow you to identify particles using invariant masses!

Discovering Particles

The link will take you to an activity where you will be able to discover new particles in CMS!

CLEO and D Mesons

The link will take you to an activity that will allow you to reconstruct D mesons!

Top Quark

The link will take you to an activity where you will find the mass and type of parent particle!

Visualizing neutrino interactions

The link will take you to an activity that challenges you to come up with different ways to visualize the interactions in the IceCube experiment.


Expand Your Research!

The link will take you to a "how to" for you to be able to further expand your learning and research!

How to Download More Data!

info About P3 Particle Physics Playground

toc Overview

This site provides activities, mostly using real data from past and present experiments, with the goal of teaching the experimental side of particle physics.

This site is not meant to be a fully comprehensive tutorial. The ideal student will have learned the basic concepts elsewhere (classroom setting, mentor, independent study) and then will use these activities to test their understanding of the concepts and to develop some sense of how "real scientists" are doing this work in the field.

These activities are built around the Python programming language, specifically the the iPython notebook. Anyone who uses these activities should familiarize themselves with both of these products.

Have fun!

school Philosophy

This project is licensed using the MIT Open Source license. This means that any of you anywhere can make a copy of this site and host it elsewhere. I am totally cool with that.

However, it would be great to have some common repository for different experiments to have their data used to teach people science and train the next generation of particle physicists. I am therefore happy to include data and activities (at any level!) from interested individuals. To this end, I have some helpful suggestions (and requirements!) for those of you who would like to contribute.

  • Identify your learning objectives. Every exercise should identify the learning goals at the top. This allows the user/student to know what they will be getting out of the exercise and whether or not it will be useful to them. It has the additional benefit of forcing the author to consider how they will structure the exercise and what they want the user to come away with.
  • Provide REAL data. While it is often useful to use Monte Carlo to emphasize certain aspects of the data analysis with a more controlled dataset, I feel it is important to encourage experiments to provide their data to the public. If an experiment wants this site to host some of their data and activities, I would require at least some of the data actually come from their experiment.


How do I fix the error saying that there is no module pps_tools?
To fix this error, first, make sure that your Runtime is set to Python 3, then go up to Runtime a the top menu and select Restart runtime. In general, most problems that don't have to do with your code itself can be solved by restarting the runtime!

Where to find the answer keys if you have finished the activities?
Email Matt Bellis!

Which tutorial should I start with?
'Using Colab for the first time' is the place to start if this is indeed your first time here! We suggest watching all the videos though, to get an in-depth explanation of all the tools you will be using.

Which activity should I start with?
We recommend you start with the CMS muons activity (Identifying particles), as it introduces importing the data from the Github site, as well as working with h5hep using data from the CMS experiment.

I've finished all the activities. What more can I do?
We are in the planning stages of implementing more activities to the website, especially activities that use data from the BaBar experiment. Don't fret, more is on the way!

I'm running locally and my tools dont seem to be working
Chances are your tools are outdated. Try updating them by pulling from the Github site, and running the `setup.py install` command from the conda terminal again.

P3 Particle Physics Playground ©2018