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Trip to Cern 2015

CERN trip: 1-4 March 2015

In March this year, Ms Sabic and Ms Powell took eleven sixth formers to CERN, Geneva, Switzerland on a Physics trip. We learnt a lot about the biggest experiment on Earth and had some fun too!

On Monday morning, we had the official CERN tour and explored the history and technical aspects of the accelerators and detectors. We then proceeded on a tour around the grounds, and saw the buildings that housed the ATLAS detector and the CERN exhibition. On our tour, we were privileged to watch the physicists and engineers at work on the ATLAS detector, which everyone found interesting. In the afternoon, an antimatter Physicist talked to us about his work and explained how antimatter could be used to help develop new technologies, including cancer treatments and a future form of fuel. The workshop was very interactive and made us feel inspired and motivated. Lars then took us around the actual experiments and also showed us CERN’s computing system which is the world’s largest computing grid. We learnt that www was invented by Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist at CERN in 1989.

On Tuesday we had the opportunity to work with a CERN physicist in charge of the electromagnetic calorimeter at the other LHC detector: the CMS experiment. He showed us around the control room and gave a presentation. He then asked us to analyse images from the experiment and decide what the particles produced were and what exchange particle they had come from. During their data analysis, Bridget and Firdowsa re-discovered the Higgs Boson! During this workshop we also learnt about the international nature of all the projects at CERN and the lifestyle which working there entails.

On Tuesday afternoon, we visited the United Nations (UN) headquarters where we learnt about the history of the UN including its predecessor, the League of Nations. There was an exhibition by Turkish artists on the theme of refugees around Europe who were affected by conflict and war. This taught us a great deal about the consequences of war but also the importance of support by other countries.

On Wednesday morning, we had a treat: we visited a chocolate factory. We learnt about where cocoa beans come from and how they are treated, crushed and mixed with sugar and powdered milk or coconut butter to make edible chocolate. We tasted different types of chocolate and also watched our presenter turn a bowl of marzipan into a beautiful flower as a decoration. During the presentation, Firdowsa volunteered to make her own bar of chocolate and flavour it with cherries, nuts and dried fruit. This was really fun and each of us was given some chocolate to take away.

Written by Defne, Suzie, Charlotte and Bridget.

A Church Of England Secondary Girls' School and Sixth Form Centre