Chris Edmunds (University of Liverpool) discussing the workings of the EMMA Accelerator with students at Daresbury Laboratory.
Over 850 sixth form students from 60 schools attended STFC’s Particle Physics Masterclass at Daresbury Laboratory and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory during March. These one-day events aim to inspire AS and A-level physics students by showcasing big science projects in the UK and around the world.
The discovery of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider, CERN has captured the imagination of a generation of young people. Particle Physics Masterclasses aim to capitalise on this enthusiasm by highlighting career opportunities in this exciting field. The Masterclasses – which people travel the length of the country to attend – are run by STFC’s Particle Physics Department, the Cockroft Institute, ASTeC, ISIS and Diamond facilities.
The events included talks on particle accelerators, the fundamentals of particle physics, the Large Hadron Collider and applications of particle accelerators. Students participated in hands-on computing exercises involving real data collected by particle physics detectors, and toured STFC experiments, including ASTeC, ISIS and Diamond.
Lee Jones, lead organiser for the Cockroft Institute was delighted with event:
“We have worked hard in recent years to gather views on our Masterclasses from students and teachers, and this has really helped us to improve our programme. The inclusion of an accelerator tour is essential, and is clearly reflected in the feedback we received this year. We have maintained the learning experience for students by using the ALICE injector experiment as pre/post-event homework and integrating this with the facility tour.”
The Daresbury Laboratory team trialled a new initiative aimed at firing the imaginations of a group of students predicted an A* at A-level and intending to study physics at university. The group was set challenging tasks designed to stretch their abilities.
STFC received some lovely feedback on the events:
“Today was amazing. I and the students loved it. The whole thing was great. Please tell everyone involved that it was superb and inspirational.”
“I just wanted to send a quick email to thank you and your team for delivering a fantastic Particle Physics Masterclass for our students. Our students all expressed their enjoyment from taking part and wouldn’t stop talking about how great the day had been!”
Particle Physics Masterclasses are hosted by universities and laboratories across the country throughout the year. Check out the particle physics masterclass page to find out more.