University at Buffalo

Cosmic RaysUniversity at Buffalo


Home
List of Exhibits
PASI's Excellent Adventure: the LHC decoded
Murals
First Floor
Welcome Kiosk
Tachyonic Antitelephone
Foucault Pendulum
Second Floor
Atom Corral
Cosmic Rays
Electric Circuit
Spectrometer
Historic Instruments
Wonder Room: Supersymmetry and Extra Dimensions
Third Floor
Particle Physics
Camera Obscura
Symmetry
Photos
Useful Links


The cosmic ray shower box demonstrates how different particles created in a cosmic ray shower will travel through the Earth's atmosphere before decaying into other particles.


Cosmic Ray Shower BoxClick on photo for slideshow

Posters:

Wimshurst/Plasma
Spark Chamber
Cosmic Rays
Cosmic Ray Decay

The spark chamber at the UB Department of Physics has been created by Prof. Gary Nickard. It is presently not on permanent display due to construction.

A spark chamber is a device used to detect particles flying into Earth's atmosphere from outside the galaxy, called cosmic rays. The chamber consists of metal plates inside a sealed box that is filled with a gas such as helium. As charged particles travel through the detector, they ionize the gas between the plates which causes a high potential difference across the neighboring plates to form. This creates a spark in the chamber which travels along the path of the particle.

To take part in a self-guided tour, dial 1-888-744-0529, then 18.
Spark Chamber


A Wimshurst machine is an electrostatic generator used to generate high voltages using only human-generated power. Along with the plasma ball, it demonstrates the process of ionizing a gas in order to create a spark.


Wimshurst Machine

Here is a link to a Flash presentation explaining the Spark Chamber. If the animation does not start, check that your security settings permit running ActiveX controls and that you have Adobe's Flash Player installed on your computer. If not, follow this link to install.