Particle Physics Masterclass
On 25th April several Year 12 students attended a Particle Physics Masterclass hosted by the Physics Department at Royal Holloway, part of the University of London. The masterclass was one of many being held at universities throughout the country in 2014, intended to give sixth-formers an opportunity to learn more about the subject by way of lectures, demonstrations and talking to researchers active in the field.
After a whistle-stop review of the structure of matter students worked with software simulations to explore some of the techniques used by scientists to determine the properties of exotic particles. Coming right up to date they replicated the recent successes of Royal Holloway researchers by measuring the mass of the Higgs boson. Royal Holloway was part of the team working on the ATLAS experiment at Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN . When this remarkable discovery was announced in July 2012 it was front page news around the globe.
The day rounded off with postgraduate researchers demonstrating several ground breaking experiments in the field and sharing their work on the hunt for the elusive 'dark matter' - this included one of them breaking out into an extended rap on the subject.
"The day at the masterclass was very informative. It broadened our understanding of the whimsical world of particle physics, and we were amazed to see the work that went on at CERN to find the Higgs Boson" commented St. Saviour's student Nada Takkal "It was a great day and it really showed how little we know about the world we live in!"