Between 23 July and 5 August 2017, the selected students had the chance to explore the fascinating world of particle physics during lectures and tutorials, hands-on workshops in S’Cool LAB, and visits of CERN’s research installations.
“We wanted students to learn by head, hands, and heart. The students might first listen to a lecture about particle accelerators and do some simple calculations, but then they would study the effect of magnetic fields on electron beams and the behaviour of superconductors during hands-on workshops in S’Cool LAB, and in the end they see the superconducting magnets in CERN’s magnet test facility,” explains Julia Woithe, who initiated the camp.
Groups of four students had the chance to work together with CERN scientists on different research questions such as: can we use semiconducting diodes to detect particles, can high-school students understand the Higgs mechanism, or how crazy is Enrico Fermi’s idea of a circular collider in stable orbit around the Earth? Even CERN’s Open Data portal, medical applications, and prototype development in IdeaSquare were covered in the research groups. On their last day, students presented their results in a public poster presentation, like real scientists working in an international collaboration.
“Working on our research projects opened our horizon in different research fields, everyone could get deeper into their most favourite research project and discover their potential,” says Veronika, one of the participants, from Germany, who learned how to analyse CERN’s Open Data. “It was great working together with real scientists at CERN who are experts in their fields.”
As well as enjoying the rich scientific programme, students had the chance to grow together as a team and glimpse the diverse international environment at CERN with the first CERN people bingo, an international BBQ, and by meeting people in the restaurant.
“I can’t believe that during lunch I could sit next to such famous people,” says Beatrice from Italy, after meeting Maria and Giuseppe Fidecaro in the restaurant. “It’s amazing how many wonderful people from all around the world work together at CERN.”
“After these incredible two weeks together we are all looking forward to the day when we will meet again and work on the same project at CERN, because with this experience we learnt that our dreams can come true at some point,” Doğa, from Turkey, says.
The programme was organised by the S’Cool LAB team to complement the existing international summer programmes for university students and high-school teachers. “We are currently evaluating the summer camp to see if we can offer this great opportunity for high-school students on a regular basis from now on,” says Sascha Schmeling, Head of Teacher and Students Programmes. “Hopefully, CERN will inspire many more young students in the future.”
Article written by: Beatrice Motetti, Veronika Selzam, Doğa Seckin and Julia Woithe