Higgsy and MatterBricks are two remarkable free apps that introduce users from around the globe to the wonders of particle physics. These apps serve as both educational and innovative tools, allowing not only students and teachers but also the general public with an interest in particle physics to explore and engage in small scientific experiments while gaining a fundamental understanding of matter.
Both Higgsy and MatterBricks were conceived by Kirill Skovpen, a particle physicist currently working at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland.
In 2022, with the support of the communication team of the CMS experiment, one of the major experiments at CERN, Kirill Skovpen launched the first app dedicated to the Higgs boson named Higgsy. The app was presented as an Inspirational Success Story project during the 24th IPPOG meeting held at CERN in October 2022. Higgsy is available for free download on all iOS devices, including iPads and iPhones.
The app was developed to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012 at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. Its purpose is to introduce players to key concepts related to the discovery of this famous boson through interactive games. Upon opening the app, users are presented with three buttons: Discover, Practice, and Game. The "Discover" button invites players to explore the world of particles revolving around the discovery of the Higgs boson, providing insights into particle physics. The "Practice" button allows users to apply and reinforce their understanding of these concepts. Once users have acquired the basic knowledge, they can proceed to the "Game" section, where they experience various events that simulate collisions within the detectors found in the CERN accelerator.
MatterBricks, the second app developed by Kirill Skovpen, was launched more recently always with the support of the CMS experiment. In early 2023, Dr. Skovpen announced the app through a statement sent to the International Particle Physics Outreach Group (IPPOG) community. Like Higgsy, MatterBricks is available in English and can be downloaded for all iOS devices. It allows users to explore the fascinating world of material tiles using augmented reality. Its tiny bricks represent elementary particles that form the basic structure of known matter. The app demonstrates how these elementary particles interact to create other fundamental particles found in nature.
These two apps bridge the gap between science and entertainment, making the wonders of particle physics accessible to all.
By incorporating these applications into a digital world of gaming, particle physics becomes an engaging and interactive experience for everyone.