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Sixth Form visits CERN

July 16th, 2015

The science group in front of Geneva's old town

In June, 21 science students from Year 12 and 13 travelled to Geneva, Switzerland which included a visit to the CERN Institute.

The group of science students flew to Geneva on a Monday morning and returned on Wednesday evening. The three days were spent visiting many of the sights Geneva had to offer, including the main offices of the United Nations.

They also visited the Red Cross Museum and the old town of Geneva, which is a national heritage sight 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, which is the result of world-wide cooperation.

The class in front of CERN's central command

Due to the nature of the facility, they were allowed on-site for four hours. Before this, they had lunch with scientists and engineers who work on the facility. 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 French side of the facility to the central command. The central command is where the the Large Hadron Collider is controlled. While there they saw the assembling units of the LHC and 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.

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 photos from the visit, visit our gallery or click here.

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