Big bang theory for science boffs


Students were able to get up close to examine the Large Hadron Collider during a school field trip.

The 17 A Level Physics students travelled from Bede’s school to near Geneva for the science based trip on Friday, April 12.

The teenagers travelled 120 metres underground to view the machine which is designed to find the much spoken about ‘God’s Particle’.

The tour of the facility began with a presentation from one of the members of British staff who had been working there for over ten years.

A particle physicists who works on the experiment explained the details of how the machine was constructed to the Bede’s students on.

Bede’s boffin, James Baldwin said the trip was mindblowing. He said: “The things that are happening at CERN are mind-blowing.

“We learned about the discoveries they have already made and how they are achieving their goals, some of which I didn’t even think were possible.”

James, who is preparing for his AS Levels, added: “At CERN they are making new discoveries all the time. It’s a very dynamic place, and one day I sincerely hope to work there.”

Head of Physics at Bede’s Colin Hiscox said the facility was breath taking.

He said: “From the outside the facility seems like an unimposing factory in the French countryside.

“But once 120 metres underground, and through the retina-controlled security doors, our first sight of a 15 meter diameter, 12500 tonne detector was breath-taking.”

He added: “The whole machine is a nine kilometres diameter circle 100 metres underground.

“In the test building we saw the huge 35-tonne superconducting magnets being checked before use, and then we visited a CMS location where beams of particles travelling close to the speed of light in opposite directions are collided to create conditions close to those of the Big Bang.”

The LHC is currently shut down for maintenance and upgrade, and this turned to the Bede’s groups’ advantage.

The maintenance work meant that the students were able to visit far more than they might have had the collider been operating.

“The impact one discovery can have on the scientific community can be massive,”