Bolton School Girls’ Division Newspaper


Miss Zornemann Visits CERN

CERN is the European centre for particle physics research located in beautiful Geneva, Switzerland. International scientists from many member states and disciplines collaborate to further understand the past, present and future of the universe we live in today.

I was fortunate enough to visit CERN for four days in December to learn more about the work they do.

During my visit, I learnt about how the physics we see in action everyday is used to observe the unbelievable. They have designed some of the strongest magnets in the world and materials known as superconductors which conduct great currents at low resistances. Primarily, these are used in experiments but they have also allowed great advances in the field of medical physics.

Some of the greatest findings at CERN have been: the development of the World Wide Web by Tim Berners-Lee; the discovery of the W and Z bosons, which added to our standard model of particle physics; and the detection of the Higgs Boson.

The Higgs Boson particle, theorised in 1964 but not found to exist until 2013, explains what gives mass to fundamental particles and was discovered from super high energy collisions of protons in the Large Hadron Collider: a 27km circular tunnel located 100m under the city where 400 million collisions of protons occur every second!

I visited one of the detectors on the LHC, the Compact Muon Solenoid, where the Higgs Boson was observed on the final day of my visit. Although I had seen many of the other important accelerators and experiments, this was the most impressive. Seeing the various layers of the huge particle detector where particles were observed for the first time so far underground was incredible!

In the future, CERN hope to complete further research using larger particle accelerators to discover more about dark energy and dark matter which we have not yet been able to observe but are believed to govern the expansion of our universe. They are also creating antiparticles thought to exist in abundance in the early universe but no longer seen today.

Who knows what they will find next!

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