The REINFORCE EU project (Research Infrastructures FOR Citizens in Europe) engages and supports citizens to cooperate with researchers and actively contribute to the development of new knowledge for the needs of science and society.
REINFORCE offers four “discovery demonstrators” in different areas of physics. The infrastructure of all demonstrators is based on Zooniverse, the most popular citizen-science platform.
We will present the demonstrator titled “Search for new particles at CERN”, which engages citizen-scientists in searches for new long-lived particles produced by the high-energy proton-proton collisions at the LHC of CERN and registered by the ATLAS experiment. To make this possible, the demonstrator adopts a three-stage architecture. The first two stages use simulated data to train citizens, but also to allow for a quantitative assessment of their performance and a comparison with machine learning algorithms. The third stage, on the other hand, uses real data from the ATLAS Open-Data subset, providing two research paths: (a) study of Higgs boson decays to two photons, one of which could be converted to an electron-positron pair by interaction with detector material and (b) search for yet undiscovered long-lived particles, predicted by certain theories Beyond-the-Standard-Model. At the end of the project the collected citizens’ results will be assessed and analyzed.
Since the launch of the demonstrator on Zooniverse, it has reached a large number of volunteers, and has motivated them to play a part in frontier scientific research. Up to now more than 150,000 classifications have been registered in all three stages together.