Report from Mr D Dolan
Stephen Ross and myself have just recently returned from a once in a lifetime trip to the CERN research facility in Geneva. We were two of only twelve winners of the competition, which was open to all pupils in Scotland sitting the higher physics course.
We enjoyed a very special behind the scenes tour of the expansive campus just outside of Geneva, getting the opportunity to visit many of the on-site experiments like ALICE and ATLAS and of course the Large Hadron Collider itself. We got the chance to conduct experiments too, constructing a cloud chamber in order to observe ionising radiation and also had the privilege of speaking to many of the PhD students and professors (several of whom are Nobel Prize winners!) who work at CERN, we spent three hours in the restaurant talking to one student from Glasgow University about the Standard Model and particle physics!
The campus itself was on a scale which was hard to comprehend, passing through both Switzerland and France and we had the opportunity to visit experiments on the French side of the border too. One of these was the CMS detector (the one which found the famous Higgs Boson!), we were very lucky and had the unique opportunity to go down to the detector itself, 100m below ground, and stand inside the LHC – a truly breath-taking experience. Another highlight was getting to visit the room where Sir Time Berners Lee invented the World Wide Web, which just happened to be invented at CERN! One evening we took the tram into the beautiful city of Geneva for an evening treasure hunt. This was eventful to say the least but was great fun!
Our time away flew by and before we knew it we were boarding our flight home, shattered after three days of intense physics. We had a brilliant time and would urge anybody who has the chance this year to apply for the competition too!