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Hands on Masterclasses

(Credit: STFC)

Over 200 sixth form students recently attended Cockcroft Institute’s annual Accelerator and Particle Physics Master Class at STFC Daresbury Laboratory. The annual workshops attracted pupils from across the whole of the North of England. 

The workshops highlight some of the latest developments in particle physics and accelerator research. Particle physics deals with the most fundamental scientific questions like- Why is there any matter in the Universe at all?  Why do particles have mass? During one session, there was the opportunity for the students to perform measurements on real data from particle physics experiments.

Having the event at Daresbury Laboratory enables students to be able to see physics in action with tours including the CLARA accelerator. Pupils had the opportunity to ask questions of the researchers involved in CLARA’s development and see a real life application of their studies.

From the history of the construction of Daresbury Laboratory and its early accelerators to the latest measurements at the LHC, the three days provided an insight that students can’t gain in just a class room environment.

Particle accelerators are our attempt to turn back the clock and see into the early stages of the Universe. Particle accelerators are used not just for fundamental science research but medical and multiple other applications.  As with any science experiment, there are many challenges to overcome.

Demonstrations included vacuum chambers and magnets with a focus on the challenges these create for any accelerator based scientific experiment.  Students listened to talks from graduates and apprentices based within the Cockcroft Institute and Daresbury Laboratory hearing about some of the many routes into working in science. Each day concluded with a High Energy Physics Talk by Prof Fred Loebinger, University of Manchester.

The full schools programme for STFC Daresbury Laboratory can be found on activities for schools page

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Last updated: 19 March 2019


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