MatterBricks is an iOS app allowing you to search for elementary particles and learn how they interact with one another - in augmented reality! The game can be downloaded from the app store here: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/matterbricks/id1662393233
The idea was born this spring from a big national symposium organised by the Belgian High Energy Physics community to celebrate the major achievements in the field over the past decade including the discovery of the Higgs boson by the CMS and ATLAS experiments in 2012, for which the Nobel Prize was awarded in 2013 to Peter Higgs and Belgian theoretical physicist Francois Englert. This symposium offered a possibility to organize an outreach event to attract the general public to the topics of scientific research covered by the meeting.
MatterBricks shows elementary particles in the context of our usual environment and makes the learning process of elementary particle physics a fun educational activity that can be realized by anyone at any place, be it in a classroom, at home, or outdoors.
The particles are shown, with the help of augmented reality, as small blocks floating around the person, representing the results of the decays of an elementary particle, and the goal of the game is to associate correctly pairs of particles so that they can be combined into the original particle that decayed. The particles are scattered anywhere in the proximity of the person, and one has to walk around and collect the particles to find all the original ones.
The MatterBricks app was included in the outreach event organized during the symposium. The outreach activities attracted over 700 participants from primary and secondary schools to discover the high-energy physics experiments. In the heart of Brussels, on the famous 'Grand-Place', anyone could try to catch elementary particles that were hidden all over the place.
The rain didn’t stop our young participants from looking for the tiny matter bricks hiding somewhere in the corners of Grand-Place!
A 'Decade of Discoveries in High Energy Physics’ brought together the whole Belgian scientific community working on experimental and theoretical aspects of a number of big science international projects including the Large Hadron Collider, Neutrinos at the South Pole and Gravitational Waves [https://agenda.irmp.ucl.ac.be/event/4816/]. The agenda of the meeting with 200 attendees included many interesting presentations, which were given by Belgian physicists, as well as several invited speakers coming from various parts of the world. The story of the Higgs-boson discovery was told by CMS members.
You can try to re-discover the Higgs boson with Higgsy [https://apps.apple.com/us/app/higgsy/id1623065412]! The event concluded with a panel discussion involving Bruce Allen, Daniela Bortolleto, François Englert, and Francis Halzen, chaired by the Head of Education and Communications at CERN, Ana Godinho.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in CMS blogs are personal views of the author and do not necessarily represent official views of the CMS collaboration.