Year 13 Physicists enjoyed the annual trip to CERN in Geneva from the 20th – 22nd September. After arriving late on Friday night, the students were up early for a full day at the Meyrin Site of CERN. Students enjoyed the ‘World of Particles’ displays film show, the Microcosm display (which has been updated since our last visit) and the CERN museum where many of the early devices which made historic discoveries are kept. Dr Corlett actually worked on one of the detectors in the Microcosm display during her time at CERN.
The afternoon was occupied with a tour, accompanied by some very distinguished scientists. Students attended a lecture on the history of CERN, and were given tours of 2 key areas within the site. The CERN data centre handles the processing of all the data produced by the Large Hadron Collider, and in a fascinating talk the students learned that in the 1960s, the data produced by one year of operation would have taken 13.2 billion years to process. Advances in computing power are so great that it can now be processed within 1 year.
The tour also involved the particle decelerator used to produce antimatter, antiHydrogen in particular. The antimatter produced can now be held for over 1000 seconds, which allows comparison of its properties with normal Hydrogen. If any significant differences are located and explained a Nobel Prize awaits that particular researcher. After the visit the students enjoyed a traditional Swiss evening, many of them proving to be proficient on the Swiss Horn. The flight home on Sunday was preceded by a cable car ride on Mont Saleve, which offers stunning views of Geneva and the surrounding area.
As usual, our students behaved impeccably, showed great curiosity and were a credit to the school.