In the first week of March 2017, the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) ran their annual Particle Physics Masterclass, reaching over 700 A-Level students and teachers. Each day included a series of talks by RAL’s particle physics department, talking not only about the Standard Model of particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider, but also about the uses to which we put this incredible technology, helping doctors around the world in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
Students also conduct an investigation using real data from the Large Hadron Collider, to try to find the elusive Higgs Boson for themselves. RAL is also home to two particle accelerators – the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source and Diamond Light Source, which are used for a vast range of science to help investigate the atomic structure, dynamics and properties of materials: studying everything from aircraft wings to samurai swords! As part of the masterclass, students and teachers get a unique opportunity to visit one of these accelerators, touring the experimental halls and talking to the scientists and engineers who work there.
Of course, one of the most important skills for any scientist or engineer is the ability to look at problems in lots of different ways – and the CREATIONS demonstrator helps to do this. As well as encouraging the students and teachers to ask questions and learn as much as possible, we also asked them to take photographs of what they saw – whether in the talks, during the computer exercises, or touring one of the particle accelerators. The results were very impressive – some made us think, others made us smile! To see the photographs please visit the GALLERY.