Mrs Roberts goes to CERN

Spirit of Adventure in CERN, Switzerland
Birmingham Airport, then arrival in Geneva.  I felt quite nervous and excited!  I had to find the shuttle bus to CERN – I remembered that it could be found at quai 4 on exiting the airport.  I was so relieved to find it and, as luck would have it, there was another UK primary teacher sitting on board waiting.  It was so good to arrive at CERN with someone else!

We arrived at our hotel, dropped suitcases off in our rooms and headed over to the restaurant where we found a group of friendly (but also tired!) teachers. It was such a lovely atmosphere from the outset.  The rest of our colleagues arrived. We were 18.

During the four days that I was in Switzerland, I met and saw some amazing people: scientists (even original founders of CERN who are now in their ‘90s!), doctors, engineers, PhD students, chefs, teachers and many more….. We even met a Nobel Prize winner!

I attended lectures on the history of CERN, particle physics, antimatter, how physics is used in medical applications and how we can use research to inform others.  I made a cloud chamber.

I had some brilliant tours around CERN, seeing the first particle accelerator (now extinct), the antimatter factory, a NASA space experiment with live feed from space, the Atlas particle detector (linked to the LHC), the control room for all LHC (Large Hadron Collider) experiments, the permanent exhibitions and displays and the library. And yes, we did also have a fun evening out in Geneva eating cheese fondue!

I learnt so many new and amazing facts about science, especially particle physics!  I now even partially understand what antimatter is! Did you know the World Wide Web was invented at CERN?

I was so impressed with the ethos of CERN.  Since 1954, it has existed to provide a collaboration of scientific research between European countries (this, has of course changed and CERN is associated with countries world-wide) with an open policy to share all research and make it available for others to use, except for military purposes.  Everyone at CERN works together.  Scientists from all over the world collaborate on projects.  Many languages are spoken at CERN; scientists and engineers have to speak at least French or English fluently, and then they have to know the languages spoken by their colleagues.  It is very impressive, and shows the absolute importance of knowing and understanding other languages. Something that we continue to promote strongly at Harriers.

I feel honoured to have been able to visit CERN.  It is an amazing, peaceful place with incredible scientific research being carried out for the potential in future medical use, looking for those particles in the universe that may or may not exist and for the promotion of learning in science.  This is resilience, an attribute that our children need to develop and learn to apply in all areas of their learning.

Mrs. Roberts, Year 4 teacher and Science Coordinator.


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