What are the different purposes of muon detection? - Interview with Tania

Tania Rosset visiting the AMS experiment at CERN (photo by Julien Marius, © 2019 CERN)

Tania Rosset, a bright Swiss student, presents her Matura paper inspired by PolarquEEEst. Cosmic rays, astrophysics, and much more in her future.

October 22, 2019 - Stefania Capobianco   (Leggi l'articolo in italiano)

Our unique project PolarquEEEst – the cosmic detector assembled at CERN by high-school students from Norway, Italy, and Switzerland – brought inspiration and passion for physics among these students last year in May. One of them, Tania Rosset, went further into the subject, studying in-depth and interviewing international particle physics experts.

The special device was designed to catch the intense flow of cosmic rays that bombard the Earth and has traveled far above 80°N. Impressed, Tania has been reading more and more about cosmic rays, searching for the uses of muon detection throughout the world and history. Here comes “What are the different purposes of muon detection?”, her high school Matura paper for College Voltaire of Geneva.

“I wanted to write something approachable, but at the same time scientifically correct, to let everybody learn about the topic. I didn’t imagine how much we can understand by studying cosmic rays. I found it very interesting to discover that there are different detectors (scintillator, gas, photographic emulsion, neutrino) and uses of muon detection depending on the project and its purpose. Above all, I was surprised to find out it can be useful to several fields!”

This brilliant pupil – in love with science, maths, physics, but most of all, with space! – admirably explained the importance of studying cosmic rays. After assembling the PolarquEEEst device, Tania started wondering how many detectors exist and if there were different uses of them. She found the answer by studying projects like ScanPyramids, the Mont-Terri project, and Polarquest2018, among others. Hence, she learned that muon detection can be used to analyze the internal structure of pyramids, monitor clay density in a mountain, and still understand the effects of cosmic rays on the atmosphere and clouds.

“When I heard about the AMS experiment at CERN, I said <<Wow!>>. I truly admire people working on space projects, collecting enormous amounts of data; their job is impressive. Even though a lot of discipline and extensive knowledge are needed, I am eager to study and discover more and more to be part of it one day, hopefully.”

Passionate about the space exploration since ever, excited by the latest developments in the aerospace industry – see SpaceX and Blue Origin – Tania will soon enroll in aerospace engineering or astrophysics, following her dream in the footsteps of her role models: astronauts Thomas Pesquet and Claude Nicollier.

Well done, Tania and good luck with your studies, we're sure you'll have a bright future!