Inventive ideas bring schools step closer to beamline

Students from the Beamline for Schools competition in 2015 look at data from their experiments (Image: Markus Joos/CERN)

Recently 151 teams submitted fantastic proposals for the 2016 Beamline for Schools Competition. Early evaluation shows huge originality and novely in the applications, leading to new prizes being created.

Selection of the winners is now underway for the competitions, which will give two teams of high-school students the chance to perform an experiment at a fully functional beam line at CERN.

This year, teams from all over the world sent written proposals, and short videos with a huge range of ideas for how they could use the beamline.

The inventiveness of each proposal, which vary wildly from team to team is often a testamount to the coaching given by their fantastic physics teachers.

This year proposals ranged from using CERNs beam to test particle accelerators they’ve built at school, to physics experiments testing the theory of relativity, to experiments that lead to Nobel prizes just three generations ago. The inspiration for the teams came from a huge range of ideas, such as the potential applications of particle physics in health treatment, as well as testing shielding materials that will protect astronauts on a journey to Mars.

The proposals are being analysed from now by teams of enthusiastic volunteers, CERN scientists and external specialists, and already the enthusiasm and creativity of this year's entries is evident:

"[We want to come to CERN] because it is a place where people meet, cooperate and engage beyond their nationality and their own cultural patterns contributing to the development and to the wellness of society” Team Peano

“We love physics and we are sure we will leave a mark on history, we are the change we want to see in the world.” Team Ravens

“Designing an experiment that discovers new knowledge or confirms the old is the most incredible opportunity we’ve yet encountered. “  The 5 Sigma project

“We have to know who we are, our strengths, our weaknesses, our limits and it is projects like Beamline for Schools that help us do precisely this.

This project made us get out of our comfort zone, open our minds, it also made us realise how little we actually know and therefore, it made us curious to learn more about particle physics, a branch we know very little of even now.“ 30(ns)toBang

To reward more teams for their effort and excellent work, additional prizes will now be awarded. 30 teams will receive one CosmicPi particle detector for their school as well as BL4S t-shirts for all team members. The two main winning teams will be also invited to carry out their experiments at CERN in September. All winners will be notified in June.

These prizes are thanks to the support from the Alcoa Foundation, with additional contributions from the Motorola Solutions Foundation, the Ernest Solvay Fund managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, as well as National Instruments.