Year 13 students from Lancaster University School of Mathematics went on a trip to Geneva in September, visiting CERN and the UN.

Preston students hunt for the Higgs boson at CERN

Students from Lancaster University School of Mathematics (LUSoM) have been inspired by a visit to CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider.

During the visit on Saturday 16th September, the students discovered how CERN is helping to answer some of the most fundamental questions; how did the Universe begin? What are the basic building blocks of matter?

Scientific breakthroughs such as the discovery of the Higgs boson require experimental machines on the large scale, and the students gained an appreciation of the technical and engineering challenges that the multinational experimental collaborations at CERN face.

The Headteacher, Peter Tiltman said, ‘The students have been excited to come and see the work at CERN as many aspire to work here themselves. We were extremely lucky that with our links from Lancaster University we got a special talk from Dr Maria Smizanska and her PhD student Neza Ribaric detailing their work on supersymmetry.’

The UK has been a member of CERN since the organisation was founded in 1954. Membership allows British researchers to take a wide variety of roles that contribute to CERN’s on-going success; from recently qualified technicians and university undergraduates gaining their first taste of working in an international environment to PhD students analysing experimental data and experienced engineers and physicists leading projects or representing their experimental collaborations. The LUSoM students’ visit was led by a member of the CERN community who talked from personal experience about their contribution to CERN’s research programme.

STFC’s Executive Chair, Professor Mark Thomson, said “The scale of the science and technology at CERN is awe-inspiring. There is no doubt that seeing it at first hand, and meeting the people who work on the experiments, can influence young people’s future education and career choices.”

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