CERN Particle School 2018

Date of past event:

20th August 2018



Year 12 physics students were invited to apply by writing an essay, for the Particle School at CERN in August 2018, run by Professor Themis Bowcock and the LHCb experiment research group.

The aim of the Particle School was to give future Physicists exposure to the life of a researcher, at CERN. Students had access to data from the LHCb experiment at CERN and also experienced the day-to-day atmosphere of the CERN laboratory.

The Liverpool University LHCb group, who hosted this opportunity for the eighth year, opened the opportunity to all SSLP schools for the third time. There were a total of twelve available places (plus two supervisors) for the Southwark Borough.

Trip logistics and cost
The visit ran over four nights, leaving on Monday 20st August and returning on Friday
24th August 2018. Some funding towards places for state school applicants was available so that the costs charged to pupils did not exceed £300 (including flights accommodation and meals).

The Essay Competition
The twelve participants were the winners of any Essay Competition.

The brief was to write a short essay of less than 800 words on ONE of the topics listed below. The winning essays were properly referenced, original and aimed at introducing the basic concepts of the chosen topic to someone with little scientific background.
Essay titles:
i) What is Supersymmetry?
ii) Matter-Antimatter Asymmetry in the Universe
iii) Dark Energy and Dark Matter
iv) Explore an engineering breakthrough that set LHC apart from previous particle accelerators.
v) How are proton beams used in non-LHC experiments at CERN?
vi) How is the design of LHCb better suited to the study of B Meson decays than a general purpose detector ?
vii) What new physics can LHCb directly or indirectly detect, and how?
viii) For what physics goals is it important to have ~360 degree general purpose detectors like CMS and ATLAS?
ix) Cosmology is the study of the universe at a macroscopic scale whilst particle physics is concerned with the smallest scales imaginable. How can cosmologists work with particle physicists?
x) Why is the Higgs Boson important to particle physicists?