There is so much potential for a school trip to Cern, home to the most cutting edge physics laboratory in the world. Not only has the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) allowed the theory of quantum physics to gain momentum, but the scope for future research is vast. In fact, ideas for a £20bn accelerator named the Future Circular Collider (FCC) are fast becoming a reality. |
Pupils on a school trip to Cern will have the opportunity to learn all about the future plans for this fascinating project.
The Future of Cern
It’s hard to imagine an accelerator that is four times longer and ten times more powerful than the LHC, but that’s exactly what is being proposed. The idea behind its size is that it will become possible to unearth new subatomic particles within the next 30 years.
While there are sceptics, the Director-General of Cern is very excited about the proposal, what it could teach us and how it could advance technologies that have a positive impact on society.
Currently the idea is in its infancy, but it has been submitted to an international panel of particle physicists in conceptual design format.Other submissions will also be received but this one has gained significant interest. The plan is to build an accelerator that is 100km in diameter and, while the proposal is ambitious, it is very exciting.
Engineers are already building prototypes and testing components that may be incorporated into the design so that the accelerator can work at higher energies. A new tunnel under Cern would have to be built, and then a ring would be installed with the purpose of colliding electrons with their positively charged counterparts, called positrons.
Once this becomes established, protons would be collided with electrons in stage 2, with the final stage involving colliding protons together with a force that equates to ten times higher than that produced in the LHC.
The hope is that collisions at this high energy level will help scientists discover a whole new set of particles that can tell us more and more about how our universe ticks. (The subatomic particles we are aware of currently only play a relatively small role in the natural forces that govern the universe around us.)
While the Standard Model of Subatomic Physics (something you should talk about with your students before your school trip to Cern) serves its purpose (and was a huge achievement for science), astronomers believe that there is more to the universe, much of which can’t be explained by the Standard Model.
Scientists yearn to discover the theory of everything: the deeper processes that tie all of the natural forces together and unite the general theory of relativity and quantum physics. The hope is that the new FCC can help do just that.
Booking a school trip to Cern is best done through a specialist operator. While you plan the educational side of the experience, the booking company will take care of the logistics, the itinerary, the accommodation and the travel.
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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