Brooke Weston Trust students hunt for the Higgs boson at CERN
Students from Brooke Weston Academy, Corby Technical School and Kettering Science Academy have been inspired by a visit to CERN, the home of the Large Hadron Collider.
The students discovered how CERN is helping to answer some of the most fundamental questions, such as: ‘How did the Universe begin and what are the basic building blocks of matter?’
Scientific breakthroughs such as the discovery of the Higgs boson require experimental machines on the large scale, and the students gained an appreciation of the technical and engineering challenges that the multinational experimental collaborations at CERN face.
Trust Director of Science, Karen Hearne, said, ‘This was a great opportunity for our students to visit this world-famous site and see at first hand the cutting edge science that goes on there. It gave them a huge insight into the scope of scientific endeavour and also the collaboration between nations that exists in a bid to unlock the mysteries of the universe. The students also had the opportunity to visit the United Nations as well, so during the trip earlier this month so it was a really wide-ranging experience for them.’
The UK has been a member of CERN since the organisation was founded in 1954. Membership allows British researchers to take a wide variety of roles that contribute to CERN’s on-going success; from recently qualified technicians and university undergraduates gaining their first taste of working in an international environment to PhD students analysing experimental data and experienced engineers and physicists leading projects or representing their experimental collaborations. The Brooke Weston Trust students’ visit was led by a member of the CERN community who talked from personal experience about their contribution to CERN’s research programme.
The Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Executive Chair, Professor Mark Thomson, said ‘The scale of the science and technology at CERN is awe-inspiring. There is no doubt that seeing it at first hand, and meeting the people who work on the experiments, can influence young people’s future education and career choices.’