Trip to CERN

18th January 2017

On Tuesday 10th January, a group of Raine's finest physicists, chemists, biologists, mathematicians and sociologists went to visit The Large Hadron Collider at CERN on the Swiss - French border at Geneva. It stands for The European Council for Nuclear Research; although it primarily looks at particle physics, it has received a lot of prominence in recent years, particularly for the discovery of the 'Higgs-Bosun' particle.

The visit was to see the impact CERN has on their respective fields, such as: for the physicist, chemist and biologist, the possibility of how matter, life and existence came about, the mathematicians saw the dynamics and engineering of the 27km collider and for the sociologist, the ethics of the current research at CERN. The group of 11 students started the day looking around CERN's microcosm with the speed and direction of hydrogen atoms, the focus of their attention; these particles reach speeds close to that of light, before colliding in the giant detectors. They saw how the scientists at CERN collect their information at ALICE, a detector which found the Higgs-Bosun particle. Higgs-Bosun was a 'missing link' and helps to explain why everything has mass. The ALICE detector weighs as much as 100 Boeing 747 aeroplanes and has 1,800 miles of cable.

 Having lunch at CERN's canteen was an honourable experience, to be able to sit next to, and talk to scientists at CERN about their work was enjoyable for the students, as they were able to see the daily life of a research physicist. After lunch, the students attended a lecture on the history, layout, experiments and funding behind CERN. Learning that you do not need to be a scientist to experiment there, as there was currently a PhD music student experimenting with different sounds created at CERN It seems we all contribute to CERN in one way or another, whether we are physicists or not.

We needed to fly back to London, but not before a quick snow extravaganza. The snow then, thankfully stopped mid-afternoon, and we arrived back at Raines around 8.30pm -  we were all tired but it had been a worthwhile and enjoyable experience - but we were in school the next day, ready to carry on learning.