26th November 2012

CERN: Larger-than-life experience of the very small - A school group from St Albans recently travelled to CERN on a school trip with Adaptable Travel. This is their account of their ay at CERN.

Geneva is the home of the largest experimental laboratory in the world, a giant 27 km underground ring that houses the Large Hadron Collider, where two beams of protons that travel at 99.9999% of the speed of light are smashed together to recreate the conditions immediately after the Big Bang. This was an exciting time for our 28 Upper Sixth students of physics to visit, with recent findings of ‘superluminal’ neutrinos later dismissed and the detection of the illusive 'Higgs boson’, used to explain why objects have mass. Prepared with their AS Particle Physics knowledge, the trip was a great way to see theory being put to the test, what it takes in terms of technical challenge to engineer such a mighty project and find out some of the latest questions being addressed.

After a talk from a professional CERN scientist, we were shown round one of the most powerful computing hubs in the world and the home of the Internet. We visited the initial stages of the proton and lead-ion accelerators, now the pre-heat sections but once the cutting edge of Particle Physics and accelerator technology.

Adaptable Travel did a great job of ensuring everything ran smoothly, coordinating flights, accommodation, local tour buses and airport transfers. They also lived up to their name when last-minute changes were needed with great efficiency and minimum fuss. We’ll be looking to book with them again for future visits.

Written by Group Leader Mr Tanner.

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