Graphic showing a simulation of a cosmic muon hitting a detector

We produced a cheap and simple detector for cosmic rays, based on the Raspberry Pi computer platform. The detector is based on a plastic scintillator and Silicon photomultiplier tube combination, connected to a custom PCB combining all the necessary electronics functions (power supply, input stage, amplification, pulse shaping, trigger and an analogue digital converter), with a software stack capable of storing and analysing the collected data. We came up with a detector design which makes the collection, measurement and analysis of cosmic rays accessible and affordable to students, educators and science enthusiasts worldwide.



The Pier-X1 team working on their project at IdeaSquare

Project Team

Cosimo Cantini

Cosimo is a curious Electronics Engineer at ETHZ and working on Detector Development for Neutrino Physics and Dark Matter search at CERN. He comes from Empoli (Firenze) where he had his studies on Humanities to move then to Pisa where he studied Electronics Engineering and got amazed by Technology, Science, Physics, Chemistry… He started off his research activity with a bachelor thesis on a strange sensor based on porous silicon to move on with gaseous particles detectors at CERN. Now working hard for the next generation Neutrino detectors and … for Space!

Etam Noah

Etam is a researcher at the University of Geneva working on neutrino detectors. He has a general interest in anything to do with particles interacting with matter. He worked on the design and commissioning of the CMS tracker. He is keen to bring bits of giant detectors to a wider audience, especially detector prototypes with educational value. When possible, he plays volleyball, surely the coolest sport on grass, sand or indoors.

Hugo Day

Hugo is a applied physicist at CERN, working on fast pulsed electromagnets. He enjoys hanging from/on top of rocks, finding ways to make people think differently (or indeed at all) about science and technology, playing games and bodging things together.

James Devine

James Devine is an Electrical Engineer currently working at CERN. He likes to make cool things and has experience in launching balloons to the edge of space and building robotic arms based on Arduino. He has professional experience designing electrical systems for scientific experiments, data centres, schools and laboratories. In his spare time he likes to programme and prototype software in Processing and Python.

Justin Salmon

Justin is a computer scientist currently at CERN. He has previously worked there on massive distributed storage systems for LHC physics experiments, and now works as a Fellow developing high-availability monitoring applications for technical infrastructure. He loves hacking in Python and is an open source enthusiast.

Laurel Coffey

Laurel Coffey is a physics PhD student at Brandeis University currently working on ATLAS. She has done searches for a lepton flavor violating particle, worked on the optical alignment system of the Muon Spectrometer, and worked in microscopy at the Columbia University Cancer Center. She hikes the mountains in all seasons and weather conditions, travels and takes photos.

Leïla Haegel

Leïla Haegel is a PhD student in neutrino physics at the University of Geneva. She settled near CERN after studying and getting research experience in material, particle accelerator and black hole physics between France, Ireland and Spain. The hackaton is her new challenge after learning diving and enjoying her first flight.

Martin Hellmich

Martin is a computer scientists currently working at CERN on large-scale distributed storage systems. He recently fell in love with the Raspberry Pi and cannot start a project without involving one. He has experience building efficient systems in C++ and Python.

Ruslan Asfandiyarov

Ruslan is a researcher at University of Geneva with wide experience in particle physics. He contributed to the discovery of the Higgs Boson when he worked in ATLAS Collaboration at CERN. And he constructed a detector for a muon accelerator project during his PhD. He is now working on cosmic ray detector to be launched into space to look for dark matter.