Pupils beaming at CERN

| November 13, 2015 | 0 Comments

The name CERN comes from the title Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, or European Organization for Nuclear Research, which was founded in 1952 to establish a world-class fundamental physics research organisation in Europe.

Today, 21 countries participate in CERN’s work, which focuses on particle physics at its laboratory on the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. Using tools like the Large Hadron Collider, scientists, engineers and physicists probe the fundamental structure of the universe by colliding the basic constituents of matter together at close to the speed of light.

CERN specialists also use fixed-target beam lines for a variety of experiments, ranging from studying protons to antimatter. In 2014, to honour its 60th birthday, St John’s College and Barnato Park High School in Johannesburg. The group used a crystalline undulator – including diamonds grown by specialists – to produce high- energy gamma rays that could one day be used to reduce the half-life of nuclear waste, and to treat cancer. Ten members of the Leo4G team, from Liceo Scientifico Leonardo da Vinci School in Milan, customised a low-cost webcam to test whether it could be used as a particle detector. “The highlight for me was the first time we detected particles. We were so excited, and proud,” says Sabrina Giogetti from Leo4G. Both teams were charged with turning their data into publishable scientific papers upon their return home. 􏰀 CERN made a fully equipped beam line available to a team of high school students to run an experiment. These students – teams comprised up to 30 members with one adult supervisor – were the winners of a rigorous international competition that put all their scientific skills to the test.

The exciting opportunity was made available again to young scientists this year. Between 10 and 20 September, team Accelerating Africa from South Africa and team Leo4G from Italy beat out 119 other teams to win the CERN Beamline for Schools competition. Accelerating Africa is a team of students from St John’s College and Barnato Park High School in Johannesburg. The group used a crystalline undulator – including diamonds grown by specialists – to produce high- energy gamma rays that could one day be used to reduce the half-life of nuclear waste, and to treat cancer.

Ten members of the Leo4G team, from Liceo Scientifico Leonardo da Vinci School in Milan, customised a low-cost webcam to test whether it could be used as a particle detector.
“The highlight for me was the first time we detected particles. We were so excited, and proud,” says Sabrina Giogetti from Leo4G.

Both teams were charged with turning their data into publishable scientific papers upon their return home.

Category: Summer 2015

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