CMS opens doors to 700 students from local schools

CMS guide Achintya Rao with one of the visiting groups of schoolchildren (Image: Maximilien Brice/CERN)

On 16 and 17 February, the CMS experimental cavern played host to hundreds of young guests, aged 10–18, who visited the detector during the “School Days” at Point 5, the last major CMS outreach event of LS1. The event was organised by CMS and CERN Local Communications. The CMS collaboration had previously devoted a day to school visits after the Neighbourhood Days event of May 2014, and, encouraged by the turnout of around 700 students in a single day, decided once again to extend an invitation to nearby schools from both Switzerland and France.

Enthusiastic CMS guides spent a day and a half showing the equally enthusiastic visitors the beauty of CMS and particle physics. The complement of nearly 40 guides and crowd marshals were aided by a support team that coordinated the transportation of the young guests and received them at Point 5, where a dedicated safety team including first-aiders, security guards, two CERN firefighters and two technicians for the underground lift were present. The recently installed wheelchair lift was called into action, enabling a visitor who arrived on crutches to access the detector cavern unimpeded.

The successful event was possible thanks to the support of the CMS Visits, Technical Coordination and Safety teams as well as CERN’s Local Communications staff.

Point 5 is gearing up for the first high-energy collisions of the LHC’s Run 2 and public visits to the detector will end in early March. However, CMS will continue underground visits during Run 2, albeit limiting access to the service cavern.