Five high-school students, who won the chance to conduct particle physics experiments at CERN in 2014, have just published the first ever research paper to come from CERN’s Beamline for Schools competition.
When they won the competition, Team Dominicuscollege, from Nijmegen, Netherlands, were given the opportunity to experience life as true scientists – writing proposals and conducting research on working scientific equipment. But now, the young winners have realised the rewards that come from having your research recognised by the rest of the science community.
The team published a paper in the scientific journal, Physics Education, instructing other students and schools how to build their own particle detector. In the first publication to come out of the competition ever, the team describes their experience at CERN, their interactions with other students, physicists and engineers, and how, for two weeks, they were treated as fully-fledged scientists, not high-school students. The students, together with their teachers, describe how their crystal calorimeter was designed, built and tested in their school and what results their detector achieved in the tests with electrons and muons at CERN.
The Beamline for Schools competition gives high school students an insight into the everyday life of a researcher. Teams are asked to design a particle physics experiment, write a proposal, which is then judged by a scientific committee,and, if successful. prepared and carried out by the students at the CERN Proton Synchrotron. As part of the competition the students are expected to act as CERN physicists, including undertaking shifts at the experiment day or night, attending crucial meetings and – of course – sharing in the marvelous experience of the CERN campus and its international cafeteria. As one of the team members said “It was an amazing experience that I will never forget! I really hope that I will ever be able to return to CERN! I signed up for a science excellence program, and the first courses are about particle physics. I can’t wait to learn even more about the wonderful world of physics!”
Since 2014, more than 5500 students from all around the world have participated in the competition, a third of them from non-member state countries. On average teams spend around 24 hours developing their ideas for an experiment and preparing their proposals.
The 2017 competition is now open for entries, and you can find out more information and apply here: http://beamline-for-schools.web.cern.ch/.
We hope that many students follow the advice of Team Beamline from Thailand: “ We want to throw out that lump of a book, kick the classroom door open and go out to see real things.”
Congratulations to Team Dominicuscollege!
Beamline for Schools is a CERN & Society project. To find out more about CERN & Society and how to get involved, go to: http://cern.ch/giving. The CERN Beamline for Schools is funded in 2017 in part by the Arconic Foundation; additional contribution is received from the Motorola Solutions Foundation.