6.2 physicists visit CERN

Facing sub zero temperatures in Geneva, 6.2 physicists visited the foremost centre for Particle Physics research: CERN. Nine students and two staff had an extensive tour visiting the main control centre, CMS and ATLAS detectors and saw active collisions between Lead ions and protons as the 27km particle accelerator was in operation. We were ably guided by post doctoral research students through the astonishing engineering and technological feats of constructing and operating the accelerator and the enormous detectors. We went down 100m below ground to the service tunnel at the CMS detector but had to remain behind the several metres of radiation protection. The enthusiasm and excitement of working in such a cutting edge community was evident, particularly in light of the recent ‘discovery’ of the Higgs Boson. The ring produces about 600 million collisions per second and only the most interesting or unusual results are stored but still this is generating a lot of data about 25PB (25million GB) every year – the same as 1,000 years’ worth of DVD quality video – this will then be analysed and interrogated by scientists across the world through the GRID network looking for clues to the structure and make-up of the universe. The LHC is about to undergo a rebuild of its superconducting magnets to make it faster and more powerful and break into unknown territories; apparently the scientist have enough data to be going on with in the meantime.

By Tobias Hardy, Head of Physics

Bedales students visit CERN

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Bedales School is one of the UK’s top independent private co-education boarding schools. Bedales comprises three schools situated in Steep, near Petersfield, Hampshire: Dunannie (ages 3–8), Dunhurst (ages 8–13) and Bedales itself (ages 13–18). Established in 1893 Bedales School puts emphasis on the Arts, Sciences, voluntary service, pastoral care, and listening to students’ views. Bedales is acclaimed for its drama, theatre, art and music. The Headmaster is Keith Budge.

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