Published on: Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Each year during the Michaelmas Term, our physics department heads to Geneva for an immersive experience at CERN – the European Centre for Nuclear Research. The trip is designed to complement our pupils' ongoing A-level studies and enable them to witness some of the world’s largest and most complex scientific technologies in action.

Recognising the critical role that the Laboratory plays in training scientists and engineers of the future, CERN offers a unique environment for learning and training.  Its comprehensive training programmes provide opportunities to young scientists and engineers, creating a stimulating and exciting environment of learning and discovery – something we feel our physics pupils benefit from hugely, year after year.

This year, the group were able to see the new Visitor Centre, and the anti-matter factory, the Antiproton Decelerator (AD). This unique machine produces low-energy antiprotons for studies of anti-matter and recently disproved the anti-gravity theory. Pupils also had the opportunity to visit the Computing Centre to learn how CERN processes the vast amounts of data it generates. Incidentally, it generates more data than anywhere else in the world with four main experiments, each producing 40 million 100Mpxiel images every second. This certainly gave our pupils something to talk about!

Some downtime in the local vicinity resulted in a few brave pupils taking the plunge, experiencing the glacial waters of Lake Geneva from a swimming platform used daily by many locals.

Commenting, our Head of Physics, Matt Lang, said: "The annual trip to CERN is always a highlight in the academic calendar. Obviously, I've been many times, but each year I enjoy seeing how engaged our pupils are in learning about this fantastic research facility. We were all blown away by the stats that came out of our visit to the Computing Centre."

He added: "Many of our pupils commented on their visit to the Antiproton Decelerator, and just how advanced the technologies are. They were completely inspired by seeing many of the topics we discuss in the classroom being applied in a real-life setting. They were fantastic ambassadors for the school throughout the trip."

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