Last week, Upper Sixth physics students attended a Particle Physics Masterclass at Rutherford Appleton Laboratories (RAL) near Didcot in Oxfordshire.
This is a popular series of one day events for Sixth Form students and their teachers, run by particle physics researchers at various institutes all over the country. The classes provide excellent support for the material on Particle Physics which is in the students' syllabus.
The trip gave students the opportunity to hear talks by leading Particle Physicists from RAL and CERN. They were given a brief overview of the standard model, making sense of the many new terms that the students have had to add to their vocabulary. The group was also treated to a first-hand account of what is being done by the Large Hadron Collider. In addition to learning more about the different types of accelerators, they also had the opportunity of being shown around one of the accelerators, ISIS; a neutron and muon source.
The trip provided the group with an opportunity to look at some of the data produced by the LHC; with two of our students managing to identify the Higgs Boson! (analysing data from 2012). It was a most informative and interesting day in which theory and practice went together.