Geneva and CERN tour

Just as children break apart their toys to find out how they work, scientists work to reverse-engineer our universe. The world renowned CERN laboratory is a prime example, a scientist’s playground chock a block with the fundamentals of physics and technology. A group of 40 students from Colaiste Einde and Colaiste Na Coiribe in Galway were lucky enough to experience it first hand on a recent school trip to Geneva.

After touching down in Switzerland the touring party made a bee line for CERN. There we spent the remainder of the day building on what we had previously learned in the classroom by taking in excellent hands-on exhibitions. This left us with a solid grounding in the fundamentals of particle physics. A grounding we would use to visit a jaw-dropping multimedia display and the now defunct synchrocyclotron. After a talk given by CERN scientist Rolf Landau regarding the popular film “Angels and Demons” and its relation to CERN and anti-matter technology the group were beginning to establish a better understanding of the questions posed by CERN’s physicists.
Prehaps one of the great successes of the trip was the experience of being immersed in the relaxed yet professional environment of CERN. The ceaseless efficiency was inspiring. The insight gained by us as students into the inner workings of the world’s premier facility provoked thought among all. It is thought such as this that one feels may spur the inquisitive minds that will fuel the future.
As for the present. CERN’s faculty is comprised of over two thousand four hundred scientists and takes in visiting physicists from one hundred and thirteen countries. Such diversity promotes the convergence of thought that is essential to it’s success. Experiments visited over the course of two days included AMS, a particle detector mounted on the international space station, Compass, an apparatus dedicated to understanding the contents of sub atomic particles, and finally CMS, one of the detectors responsible for the discovery of the elusive Higgs Boson. These magnificent feats of human engineering left us awe-struck, and taught us the power of collaboration to produce innovation. Such complex machines require endless work to maintain and carry out experiments on. It is certain that such tireless effort is born from the undying passion for physics possessed by all at CERN, and would be impossible in any other environment.
In physics, as in everything, the more we discover, the more there is to discover. Visits like ours are essential to this. A thoroughly enjoyable and inspiring experience was had by all and hopefully we, and other young people worldwide, will be inspired to continue such incredible scientific advances in understanding and technology.

James Flaus – Leaving Cert Student.


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