CERN is also known as the European Centre for Nuclear Research and is the home of the famous Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The LHC has a circumference of 27 km and accelerates beams of protons to 99.9999991% of the speed of light! This enables scientists to study the different particles produced when the protons collide helping them to understand the fundamental laws of nature. The LHC is located on the border between Switzerland and France with its main headquarters being in Geneva.
|An overview of the experiments at CERN.|
Image credit: CERN
|Sampling some Swiss cuisine (and chips!)|
We began our tour with a visit to the Synchrocyclotron which was the first particle accelerator at CERN and was built in 1957. The students were able to learn all about the accelerator and ask questions about the history of particle physics.
After the visit to the Synchrocyclotron we were lucky enough to be taken 80 metres underground to the control area for the CMS detector. CMS stands for Compact Muon Solenoid and it is one of the detectors for the LHC (you can see its location on the diagram above). CMS is a multi purpose detector and was partly responsible for the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012.
|A cross section of the open CMS detector|
Image credit: CERN
|Underground CMS computers!|
|Tom inspecting a part of the detector that tracks the positions of charged particles emerging from collisions|
|Making friends with the exhibits at the Natural History Museum!|
|Relaxing in the Botanical Gardens|
|The United Nations|
Before heading back to the airport we visited the broken chair sculpture near to the UN building. The monument symbolises opposition to land mines and cluster bombs and was constructed in 1997.
We hope to make the trip to CERN available to all future cohorts of students who study A Level Physics at the Space Studio. If you would like to find out more about the trip please get in touch with Miss Flood.
The students produced a video about the visit which you can watch below:
If you would like to learn more about CERN visit: http://home.web.cern.ch/