If you’re considering taking your class on a school trip to Cern, you will want to give them an introduction into exactly what this place is before you go. Here are a few suggestions on what to talk about in order to give your youngsters a glimpse into what this world famous laboratory is all about. Share them with students and they’ll be able to get the most out of their once in a lifetime school trip to Cern. |
The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the most powerful machine on earth and since it came to fruition it has fascinated everyone who hears of it. Built to study the most intricate aspects of science, it is able to answer many questions we never thought it was even possible to ask. Scientists pushed forward with its development, despite fears of malfunction, and it is now a machine that sits at the forefront of cutting edge physics. Smashing subatomic particles together at close to the speed of light, it has been able to convince us that our theories about particles are true. It means that physicists can discover new particles and possibly even, in time, create avenues to other dimensions - it’s mind blowing stuff!
What is the LHC?
It’s hard to imagine that this machine was built in 1937 when scientists first began to get excited about particle accelerators and what they could do in terms of giving us an insight into the smallest parts of our universe. Creating high energy collisions, the particle accelerators of the past opened up the world of atoms by looking into the structure of an atom’s nucleus.
As science advanced and human understanding grew, particle accelerators also expanded in size. The basic principle still applies, however, which is the generation of electromagnetic fields to make subatomic particles race around a space as fast as possible.
What Happens Inside?
As two high energy particle beams move and begin to reach speeds close to the speed of light, they are forced to collide. Before collision they are pushed to travel in opposite directions by the magnetic field generated by superconducting electromagnets.
The more space inside an accelerator, the faster the beams can go and the more energy is produced when they collide. In theory, this means that the bigger the accelerator, the deeper into the unknown we can venture. This is a fascinating topic of conversation for your class and one that will come up time and again on a school trip to Cern.
The discovery of new particles is very exciting. The most famous example of this is the Higgs Boson, which provided the final piece to the jigsaw in the Standard Model of Particle Physics. It took 50 years of dedication for Peter Higgs to confirm the particle’s existence, but this has opened the door to future scientific discoveries.
There is a constant hub of excitement around the LHC and physicists today are searching for particles that don’t fit the standard model. They want to prove that the strict guidelines can be broken and that classical and quantum physics both have a place in science today. But most of all they want to demonstrate that the prospect of hidden dimensions is one that is very real.
There’s no doubt your class will be more than excited when you suggest a school trip to Cern. Arm them with these facts as an introduction and they will be buzzing with enthusiasm about what they’re about to embark on.
Booking a school trip to Cern is best organised through a specialist operator. Most of these companies have decades of experience in planning this type of trip and can help take the strain out of the logistics, leaving you free to plan the fun stuff!
John Gardiner is the Managing Director of The School Travel Company, a tour operator specialising in educational trips in destinations all over the world. Whether you’d like to organise a school trip to Cern, exciting tours around North America or day trips in the UK, this company will work with you to design bespoke outings to suit the needs of your students.
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