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Particle Physics Masterclass

'On the recent trip to the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, the Upper Sixth Physics students were excited to be greeted by a snow flurry and biscuits! In the morning, we attended lectures on particle accelerators. Having learnt something from the lectures, such as how the LHC's (Large Hadron Collider) tunnel shape can be distorted by changes in hydrostatic pressure in Lake Geneva, we all went to lunch.

In the afternoon, we were given a tour of ISIS (the pulsed spallation neutron source housed in the laboratories). Not only did we get to look around both target stations, but we were even lucky enough to see some instruments in Target Station Two uncovered, such as WISH and NIMROD. After this, we were taken into a computer room and given hundreds of pieces of data from the ATLAS experiment at the LHC and asked if we could identify which one of these was a possible Higgs Boson decay candidate. Although the task initially seemed daunting, the group soon got into the swing of things with most finding the Higgs. Nick Caddy (Upper Sixth, Harcourt) and I even won a prize for being among the first to recognise it. The day concluded with a talk on the medical applications of particle accelerators before our bus journey home.'

Toyah Overton (Upper Sixth, Queen Anne) 

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