If you are new to particle physics, your time is limited, or you want to do something online fairly quickly, have a look at visual displays of real particle collisions. For example, here are collision events which contributed to the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012:
wait for the tool to load, and click on the Open file button,
choose Open file(s) from web,
click on 4lepton.ig to see candidate collisions events for a Higgs boson transforming into electrons and/or muons, or click on diphoton.ig to see candidate collision events for a Higgs boson transforming into two photons, and wait for the events to load to the right,
choose any specific event from the selection and click on Load.
Your collision event should now appear in the display.
If you chose the 4lepton.ig set and you want to see electrons, check Electrons under Physics and uncheck Tracks (reco) under Tracking in the menu to the left (the choice is only visible if electrons are present in the collision).
If you chose the diphoton.ig set, check Photons under Physics in the menu to the left (the choice is only visible if photons are present in the collision).
Note: If you have a VR viewer (even a simple one like Google Cardboard), you can immerse yourself into the collision using your smartphone: click on the "Stereo View" button (shaped like binoculars), insert your phone into the viewer and have virtual tour in 3D of a real LHC collision!
The first few events of all collision datasets from CMS served on the CERN Open Data portal are available in a format suitable for the event display. In addition, many other events have been selected in specially prepared collections. Find them all in this search query.
Two examples of these specially prepared files are:
You can get an overview of our education resources through this search query with your keyword of interest (you can change the pre-defined keywords here). Here are some highlights:
If you already know what the basic physics quantities measured in a particle collision are and want to play online with histograms from different samples of open data, check out the CMS histogram visualiser. For instructions on how to use the visualiser, click on Need help?.
To learn some concepts of statistical analysis in a hands-on classroom activity, have a look at the material for an organised "Masterclass" exercise based on CMS data and the online event display. A CMS Masterclass typically takes one day (including introductory lectures and post-analysis discussions), but the exercise itself can be done in approximately two hours. Learn more about organising your own Masterclass on the CMS website.
For a first taste of real programming using physics data, consider these resources that use Jupyter notebooks for a browser-based introduction to data analysis (time can vary from less than an hour to several hours, depending on the scope of your exercise):
All applications mentioned above use open data in simplified CSV (comma-separated values) format. See all available CSV datasets, which have been extracted directly from the original collision datasets.
If you are interested in producing your own selection of open data in CSV format, see example software for the processing step.
Dive deeper into the data
If you want a more detailed understanding of particle physics or an introduction aimed at the university level, take a look at some of the other resources in this search query.