1829 From the Physics Lab to the Medical Industry to the Classroom: The Medipix Story

Saturday, February 20, 2010: 10:50 AM
Room 11B (San Diego Convention Center)
Becky Parker , Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys, Kent, United Kingdom
The Medipix story is a wonderful example of the wide spin off from technology which was originally developed for the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.  The Medipix chips, hybrid silicon pixel detectors, are being developed for use in a variety of areas including medical and analytical X-ray imaging by an international collaboration hosted by CERN. But I am a physics teacher in a UK school.  We are using Medipix chips in the school laboratory.  Students can do experiments using a piece of CERN detector and this is proving inspirational for school students.  We are finding this is significantly increasing interest and enthusiasm for physics and engineering both in school and at University. I run a project called CERN@school which puts a piece of Medipix detector into schools as a cosmic ray and radioactivity detector.  The data collected by the network of schools is made available for student research using the facilities of the Grid.  The project supports students taking part in real scientific research and collaborating on data collected.  The school detectors will be able to compare readings with a larger cosmic ray detector LUCID (the Langton Ultimate Cosmic ray Intensity Detector) due to fly in space in 2011.  LUCID uses an arrangement of Medipix chips to give new data on cosmic rays. This space experiment was devised by students at my school and is being developed with Surrey Satellite Technology Limited. The Medipix story is an excellent one since the technology is not only being developed in a range of medical fields but is at the heart of a potentially international collaboration between school students.  With access to CERN technology in school it is hoped that CERN@school will inspire the next generation of physicists and engineers.  My talk will give you more information about these developments.