Breakthrough innovation specialists, Cambridge Consultants, and leaders in theoretical particle physics, Durham University, have partnered to create an innovative iOS app that harnesses augmented reality to educate users on what neutrinos are, to visualise where they are produced and to emphasise why they’re so significant to modern science. The partnership aims to spark interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) for students in secondary education and beyond.

Bringing neutrinos to life through AR

Created in partnership with the internationally renowned Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology at Durham University, the free app, named NeutrinoScope, is the first of its kind, and enables users to see a real-world visualisation of neutrinos and to learn key facts.

Neutrinos are one of the most important and mysterious particles in the universe. They are produced by many things, including the nuclear fusion processes that power the sun and stars, and may hold the key to how matter evolved after the Big Bang, creating everything around us. Despite this, they are incredibly hard to detect and understand.

With three educational features, the NeutrinoScope app addresses this lack of understanding in a highly creative and engaging way to attract interest in STEM subjects and careers amongst young people.

After an initial quiz to pique interest, app-users are invited to the “Interact” mode that uses augmented reality to project animated sources of neutrinos onto a flat surface, explaining key facts and behaviours. Users can expect to see sources ranging from a power station to the humble banana.

Next, the app invites the user to “Explore”, showing neutrinos superimposed onto the world around them. Although usually invisible, neutrinos are emitted by many common objects and with the NeutrinoScope app users can see sources create the particles in front of their eyes. 

Silvia Pascoli, Professor at the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology, Durham University and Principal Investigator of the ERC grant NuMass said: “Neutrinos are vitally important and have the potential to solve some of the biggest mysteries in physics, including why everything we see in the Universe is made of matter and not antimatter. Despite this, they are poorly understood. With its rich history of developing breakthrough products, Cambridge Consultants was the clear choice of partner for this important project, creating a unique app that will transform teaching techniques and create a more engaging experience for students to learn about the fascinating world of particle physics”.

The app – available now on the Apple App Store – will be showcased at the ‘Ghosts in the Universe’ exhibit at the prestigious Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition, which opens on 2 July 2018. 

Tim Fowler, Head of Wireless and Digital Services, Cambridge Consultants added: “Particle physics, and more specifically neutrinos, is an important field of study that is fundamental to our understanding of the world around us. We’re delighted to partner with Durham University on this project, leveraging our software development and user experience teams to create a first-of-its-kind app that will aid education on the subject. We’re excited to launch the app and hope it goes some way to inspire the next generation of STEM graduates.”

Notes to editors

Cambridge Consultants develops breakthrough products, creates and licenses intellectual property, and provides business consultancy in technology-critical issues for clients worldwide. For more than 50 years, the company has been helping its clients turn business opportunities into commercial successes, whether they are launching first-to-market products, entering new markets or expanding existing markets through the introduction of new technologies. With a team of more than 800 staff, including engineers, scientists, mathematicians and designers, in offices in Cambridge (UK), Boston (USA) and Singapore, Cambridge Consultants offers solutions across a diverse range of industries including medical technology, industrial and consumer products, digital health, energy and wireless communications. For more information, visit: www.CambridgeConsultants.com

Cambridge Consultants is part of Altran, a global leader in engineering and R&D services which offers its clients a new way to innovate. Altran works alongside its clients on every link in the value chain of their project, from conception to industrialisation. In 2015, the Altran group generated revenues of €1.945bn. With a headcount of more than 27,000 employees, Altran is present in more than 20 countries. For more information, visit: www.altran.com

About Durham University

- A world top 100 university with a global reputation and performance in research and education (QS 2019 and THE World University Rankings 2018) https://www.dur.ac.uk/about/rankings 
- Ranked fifth in both the UK in the Guardian University Guide 2019 and the 2018 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide
- A member of the Russell Group of leading research-intensive UK universities
- Research at Durham shapes local, national and international agendas, and directly informs the teaching of our students
- Ranked the world top 40 globally for the employability of its students by blue-chip companies world-wide (QS World University Rankings 2017/18)
- Highest rate of employment and further study in the UK for undergraduates completing their first degree (Higher Education Statistics Agency 2017/18)

About the Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology

- The Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology (IPPP) is a leading international centre for research in theoretical particle physics
- The IPPP is a joint venture of Durham University and the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
-The IPPP forms part of the Ogden Centre for Fundamental Physics at Durham University
- NeutrinoScope has been developed in partnership with the IPPP as part of the FP7-IDEAS-ERC grant "NuMass" coordinated by Professor Silvia Pascoli and supporting three postdoctoral researchers and three PhD students
- Prof. Pascoli acknowledges additional support from InvisiblesPlus RISE

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