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Physics students attend Particle Physics masterclass

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Five Physics A level students, Eilish Noble, Tom Vernon-Wood, Emily Jobson, Dominic Carton and Michael Duddridge, learned about the inner workings of the Large Hadron Collider (LHR), its discoveries and its future when they attended a Physics masterclass at the High Energy Physics group at the Cavendish Laboratories.

The day started with a seminar Run 2 at the LHC – the next big leap! by Tina Potter, Lecturer in the ATLAS experiment group. ATLAS is one of the two major general purpose experiments for the LHC at CERN.

This was followed by one of two laboratory sessions, with four options:

  1. Particle Tracks – led by John Hill, Senior Research Associate, ATLAS
  2. Theory –  Hunt the Higgs card game
  3. Cosmic Ray – led by Steve Wotton, Principal Research Associate, LHCb, and using the cloud/spark chamber (LHCb was primarily designed to investigate the decays of B-particles (particles containing b-quarks) and so provide an insight into the phenomenon of CP-violation).
  4. RICH (Ring Imaging Cherenkov detectors)  – led by Chris Jones, Senior Research Associate, LHCb
1952 Electron microscope

1952 Electron microscope

The second seminar, The inner workings of the LHC and its detectors, was led by Rolf Oldeman, Lecturer, LHCb.

The second laboratory session took place after lunch, and the day ended with the third seminar, Into the Unknown – What’s Next for the Large Hadron Collider by  Giovanna Cottin-Buracchio, 3rd year Theory Research Student, ATLAS.

There was also an opportunity to look at the Cavendish museum area. Items on display included a 1952 electron microscope, a replica of the gas discharge tube used to discover the electron, and Bragg’s Spectrometer.

Bragg's Spectrometer

Bragg’s Spectrometer

David Jones, Physics course team leader, says: “This all-day event gave our Physics students direct access to current research in particle physics and provides excellent support for the A level Physics curriculum. I am extremely grateful to the High Energy Group for giving up their valuable time to hold this event – Long Road students who are planning to study Physics at university will now have an additional string to their bow when it comes to interviews, and indeed future employment. We are very fortunate to be so well placed for university contacts.”


Main photo clockwise top left: cloud chamber track analysis; Cherenkov detection (RICH); detection of cosmic rays seminar; LHC detectors seminar; examining the image intensifier; cloud chamber track analysis 2

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