Particle Physicists for a Day!
150 Sixth Form Students from 5 local schools will be taken deep into the heart of matter by particle physicists at Lancaster University on March 28th and April 2nd. They will be attending one of the annual Masterclasses organised across the country by the High Energy Particle Physics Group of the Institute of Physics.
It has been an exciting year in particle physics and researchers from Lancaster University working at CERN in Switzerland and Fermilab in the USA will bring the latest news of the most up to date experiments and discoveries. The sixth formers will learn how physicists are studying antimatter - and why there isn't enough of it to fuel a starship! They will also learn about the giant machines used by physicists to create and study a whole range of particles which don't exist in ordinary matter - but hold the key to the mysteries of the Big Bang which kick-started our universe.
Andrew Morrison, Schools Officer for the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council, who helps to co-ordinate the Masterclasses says 'these topics are included in the new A Level courses and the Masterclass will help students come to grips with the subject'. As a teacher at last year's event said 'our students have learned a lot as well as having a really enjoyable day - it was great to spend time with such enthusiastic lecturers'.
During the Masterclass, students will team up with researchers and teachers to work on data from real experiments at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva. They use computers to analyse collisions and identify some of the particles which are only produced in the giant accelerators at CERN and elsewhere. Students at last year's event found that 'the work was challenging but we were given help whenever we needed it from scientists who explained each process step by step.'
Dr Peter Ratoff from Lancaster University, who organises the event, said 'We always enjoy working with sixth formers and look forward to seeing them again!'