The other day I got asked to do a film in a real hurry! Shooting one evening at the Balloon Fiesta for use the next day in the University of Bristol particle physics installation. Becky Jones and a team from the Physics dept at Bristol were re-enacting the experiment from 100 years ago today in which cosmic rays were discovered. Victor Hess went up in a balloon with his instruments and found that the amount of radiation actually got higher as he went up in the atmosphere despite us at the time thinking that radiation came only from ground-based sources.

It was using similar experiments in balloons that we did a lot of our early experiments with particle physics so it seemed appropriate to rock up to the Bristol Balloon Fiesta and (with special dispensation from Bristol Airport to go that high) fly up to over 10,000ft with a particle detector made by some sixth form students dressed up in period costumes.

The footage (along with some shots of the installation itself) were used at the Fiesta. I gave Becky a GoPro to take with her and I’ve spliced in some of the footage on the end here to make this film more of a record of their day and the balloon flight … scientists get to have all the fun 😀

The event was supported by the STFC

More info:
http://www.bris.ac.uk/news/2012/8694.html
http://physicsworld.com/cws/article/indepth/2012/aug/01/100-years-of-cosmic-rays
http://www.stfc.ac.uk/News+and+Events/39458.aspx