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The Sixth Form physicists visited a number of United Nations meeting rooms

In July, 17 physicists from Year 12 and 13 travelled to Geneva, Switzerland which to visit to the CERN Institute and the United Nations

On their first day in Geneva, they toured the United Nations building in Geneva. While there they visited the Conference for Disarmament room, a forum where 65 member nations discuss and debate multilateral arms control and disarmament agreements. They also visited a number of other assembly rooms on their guided tour.

After visiting the UN, the group went to Geneva’s old town. The national heritage sight is full of narrow passages and hidden courtyards that date back to the 19th century. They also visited the Geneva Council and went swimming in Lake Geneva.

However, the main purpose of their journey was to visit the CERN Institute. CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) is a pan-European research laboratory that focusses on particle physics and is most famous for housing the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is the result of world-wide cooperation.

The physicists outside CERN

Once they entered, they were taken to the reception for a lecture about CERN’s operations and the history of the facility, which includes being the place Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. After the lecture, they were taken to the Large Hadron Collider and saw the assembling units of the LHC. The students were taught how equipment was assembled and tested for the machine – including testing metal parts of the machine which expand and contract by 80 metres due to their intense heat, and have to be kept at specific lengths.

As well as the Large Hadron Collider, the physicist also were shown the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer’s operation centre. The AMS is a particle physics experiment mounted on the International Space Station designed to measure cosmic rays and research dark matter. Hearing first-hand about research into the theories of dark matter was an invaluable experience for the students.

The pupils returned from Geneva with a greater insight into particle physics and an understanding of some of the different career paths science can lead to.

For more images of the trip, please click here.

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