Sixth-formers to become physics detectives
Press release issued: 24 March 2009
Over 300 budding physicists will be competing to build a machine capable of identifying invisible particles this week [25 - 27 March], when they attend a Particle Physics Masterclass in the University of Bristol’s Physics Department.
The sixth-form students, mostly aged between 16 and 18, from 24 schools across the South West region, will have the opportunity to quiz Bristol University physicists who are currently working on the world’s largest scientific experiment, the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva.
The day will consist of a mixture of talks and practical sessions, including a competition entitled ‘The Detector Game’ in which the students will use their analytical skills to design a proposal to build a particle detector to look for new and exciting particles.
Dr David Cussans, organizing the Bristol part of this national event, said: “The students form ‘collaborations’, each with a different research aim. A member of the collaboration then has to give a short presentation explaining what they have done and why.”
The students will also be allowed to make their own measurements of particle tracks and to try their hand at identifying what is happening in some particle collisions recently recorded at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva.
University researchers and PhD students will be on hand to help, answer questions, and will give a series of short talks on recent developments in the field.
“We are delighted to be hosting these Masterclass events”, added Cussans. “ We shall be highlighting some of Bristol University’s research in particle physics and hope to give our visitors a sense of the excitement we feel when investigating matter at the most fundamental level. This is a particularly exciting time for particle physics as the Large Hadron Collider will begin colliding particles in a few months time.”
The day will end with a quiz and a prize-giving event.