From the 20th to the 24th October, twenty sixth formers accompanied by Mr Nisar, Miss Lloyd and Mrs Lord went to Geneva, Switzerland to visit CERN. The trip was exciting from the start. The plane flight went normally, save for the plane missing it’s allocated landing time in the Geneva Airport and suddenly swerving up, surprising most people.
After arriving to Geneva and everyone admiring the quietness, smoothness and efficiency of Swiss public transport, we have finally made it to Geneva Youth Hostel. The Youth Hostel was surprisingly nice and we were served good quality food for breakfast.
The next day, we went to CERN, where we got a lecture on the use of particle physics in medicine, and a tour of the facility. During our trip we also visited the ATLAS detector and saw the scientists working at the detector. We were, however, not allowed to go underground to where the actual detector is located, as the accelerator was in action.
We also visited many museums related and unrelated to accelerator physics. We saw an engaging and informative presentation about the history of CERN and it’s accelerators as well as seeing a surreal and almost futuristic presentation on how the CERNs first accelerator, the synchrocyclotron worked. Light was projected on to the (real) synchrocyclotron to show various parts of it and what happened inside. It was incredible!
We also visited an interactive display in CERN which told us about the LHC and the discovery of Higgs boson. The most memorable parts of that were the cloud chamber, showing the movement of various particles through space and the life-scale model of the ATLAS detector. We also visited the Globe, in which we had a presentation about the LHC.
During the CERN trip we were given the opportunity to spend time in Geneva. We were given a tour of Geneva by a local guide, in which we found about the history of the city. In our free time we were also allowed to spend time in Geneva walking around museums, admiring the architecture and practicing French. The hardest part was trying to find food, as most shops were closed over the weekend. Some of us took a boat taxi back to the hostel. This allowed us to appreciate the views from the Lake Geneva: the infamous Geneva fountain and also the Alps and Jura mountain ranges, which encircle the city and lake.
On the final evening we had dinner with physicists working in or in collaboration with CERN. This allowed us to understand more about what the life of a scientist involved. Many of us asked specific questions relating to physics and accelerators which gave us fascinating insights into the day to day life of a physicist at CERN
In the evenings we relaxed by visiting a spaghetti restaurant as well as pizzeria with bowling. On our final day we visited the UN and the botanical gardens, which was a very relaxing way to finish the otherwise intense trip.
This trip was fascinating and I would recommend it to anyone. I would love to go again.
Daria Malysheva (year 12)