University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy



QuarkNet Team
Peter Solfest, Jim Peterman, and Jon Schmidt together with their physics teacher and Minnesota QuarkNet leader Jon Anderson

QuarkNet is an outreach program sponsored by the National Science Foundation, which brings particle physics into high schools.

A recent University QuarkNet team from Centennial Senior High School from Blaine, MN travelled to CERN in Geneva, Switzerland in April, 2008.

The team reported on the preparations of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), soon to be the world’s highest energy particle accelerator. The team documented the LHC activity using video, photographs, and blogs during their visit. They met with and interviewed physicists from around the world.

The LHC is a proton accelerator seven times more powerful than the Fermilab Tevatron, the current high energy champion. It is a 27 km circle of superconducting magnets 100 m underground. Threading through this circle is a beam of 7 TeV protons which collide head-on 40 million times a second at the center of two huge detectors. Physicists will use the data collected to investigate the origin of mass, explore the existence of extra dimensions of space, look for microscopic black holes, and determine the composition of dark matter.

The team’s blog is available at More information about the Quarknet program can be found at