Four Archbishop Beck Sixth Form physics students Conor, Lauren, Georgia and Roshni and their teacher John White flew to Switzerland at the start of April for a three day visit to the European Organization for Nuclear Research C.E.R.N. They were accompanied, on this trip of a lifetime, by other Merseyside students and teachers from Childwall Academy, Gateacre School, South Sefton Sixth Form College and Merchant Taylors School.
Outside the Atlas control centre with the Jura Mountains in the background
CERN is the biggest particle physics laboratory in the world and is located six miles from Geneva. It is a prime example of international collaboration involving 20 member states and unites ten thousand scientists from over one hundred countries.
A hectic three day schedule involved practical activities, lectures and visits to different parts of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) tied in perfectly with the students A level physics studies. They learned how the work at CERN had greatly increased our understanding of fundamental particles such as quarks and leptons and how this has already led to major advances in medicine, materials technology and communications including the invention of the world wide web.
100m below ground by the massive ATLAS detector.
The LHC is 26 miles in circumference and lies 100m below ground mainly in Switzerland but also in France. It accelerates charged particles to the speed of light so that they complete 11000 laps of the circuit per second, before they collide with each other. When the particles collide they generate 10 million images per second during operation at each of the large detectors.
Roshni, Georgia, Lauren and Conor sight-seeing in Geneva by the lake.
In the years to come CERN will continue to advance the frontiers of science, technology and engineering as the search continues for other fundamental particles and dark matter. Hopefully the visit will inspire these students from Archbishop Beck to become the scientists and engineers of the future
The trip to CERN helped me understand the actual scale and complexity of the machinery that was needed to find particles that are millions of times smaller than a full stop. It was mind blowing.
I found the trip to CERN very inspiring and motivational, seeing so many countries working together for a common goal. I would love to work at CERN in the future, it was such a welcoming community.
CERN to me was such an enriching and inspiring experience that I feel very privileged to have been part of it. The scale of everything was unbelievable and the scenery was beautiful.
As I was interested in physics, the trip to CERN was incredibly relevant and informative. It has helped to strengthen my passion for the subject helped me to decide that it is what I want to do in the future. I would love to work in a place like CERN.