India-origin 15-year old Pratap Singh awarded Institute of Physics Prize in the UK
Pratap Singh, an Indian-origin student who is just 15 years old, has won the Institute of Physics Prize (IOP) in the UK for his project on special relativity. Credited to Albert Einstein, the theory of relativity covers special relativity and general relativity.
During his year-long project, Pratap Singh used two Geiger-Müller tubes to detect cosmic ray muons. The last mentioned are produced when high-energy extraterrestrial particles known as cosmic rays collide with nuclei in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.
Singh’s experiment proved that cosmic ray muons would not be able to reach the Earth in detectable numbers unless special relativity was involved. Armed with a Raspberry Pi single-board computer and statistical analysis, he revealed that their arrival on the planet is possible because they follow the time dilation model predicted by part of Einstein’s theory.
Called ‘Special relativity in the school laboratory: a simple apparatus for cosmic-ray muon detection’, the study is expected to be published by the IOP in its Physics Education journal. Head of Physics at The Perse School (where Singh studies), David Tricker, is all praises for the ambitious project which has won the national award in the UK.
Of course, Singh makes it sound pretty simple by declaring that it’s just a matter of using the theory, formulating a mathematical model and employing a school’s physics laboratory equipment to create an apparatus capable of recording relativistic time dilation. Understanding the theory of relativity is not for the scientifically unimaginative mind.
Singh’s experiment has won him a £500 prize and a tour of a national physics-related activity. It also earned him the Intermediate Science and Maths Prize at the very same Big Bang Fair where he was announced as the winner of the Institute of Physics Prize.
dedicated by: KAVINGNAR THANIGAI.