A group of 12 Brooke Weston students visited CERN near Geneva, to talk to particle physicists about the ground-breaking research at the site, which is the world’s largest experiment.
The Large Hadron Collider is located in a massive tunnel underground with its 27km circumference straddling the French-Swiss border. More than 3000 scientists work there from all around the world and the trip covered sites in both Switzerland and France as experiments at CERN run across both countries.
Students toured the facilities and spoke to scientists who work there. They also enjoyed some free time to explore Geneva’s shops, museums and Lake Geneva.
Year 13 student Andrei Kuzin said, ‘I was excited to visit CERN, as it is one of the most futuristic physics experiment sites in the world that gathers experimental data and statistical information about what happens to particles at high energy collisions. As it is interlinked with our physics knowledge I thought it might help me with my studying and perhaps applications to universities.
‘Whilst we were asking questions and got taught by the professionals I heard about many new topics to discover which I was happy to research when we got back. It all linked to the knowledge I already had and was just generally really interesting. I enjoyed talking to the PHD students the most. They were really motivational and interested in the subject.’
Year 13 student Tarun Diwan said ‘Geneva was a really nice city with great shops. When we went to CERN it was good to get a presentation by an expert in the field as it advanced our knowledge on particle physics which we are learning this year.
‘We got to talk to some PHD students that were living in England and moved to Switzerland to do an internship. It was a good opportunity to talk to them about physics. They also gave us the history on how CERN started and how it got to where it is now. They had really small machines at first but now the biggest one has a 27km circumference.
‘For me the trip was motivational as it interested me a lot and now I am back I want to learn more about what we did there and as it is one of the topics we are now learning about it helps boost our knowledge.’
Year 13 student Keoni Southwick said ‘We learnt about particle accelerators, how they work and the different types of particles. I think that it is good to know about things you are going to learn about so to already have knowledge of the subject and to have seen it rather than just read about it in a book helps you understand it a lot more and gives you the why and not just the how when you apply it to questions.’
Head of Physics Mr John Gilyead said ‘CERN is the largest experiment in the world; it’s creating particles that were present just after the Big Bang, so helps us understand how the universe started. CERN has scientists working there from all over the world, cooperating and working together with each other. It helps students see how engineering and computing are able to support fundamental scientific research.