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Particle Physics Masterclass for Monmouth Girls

June 18th, 2019

Sub-atomic particles, the Higgs boson and particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider were among topics covered by Sixth Form physicists during a special Particle Physics Masterclass.

Held at Swansea University, students from Years 12 and 13 enjoyed a lecture by Professor Prem Kumar on the Standard Model of sub-atomic particles, the Higgs boson, particle physics and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and the ATLAS machine software it uses. Pupils learned how the Higgs field pervades the known universe and acts to slow particles down much like a ball bearing rolling through treacle, thus lending them the property we call Mass.

Head of Physics at Monmouth School for Girls, Mr Dunn, explained: “The discovery of the Higgs by CERN was widely regarded as a major step forward in our understanding of the universe and the pupils were taught about what that evidence looked like and how it was found.

“They were shown how the LHC ATLAS software was used to spot the tell-tale showers of particles that indicated the Higgs Boson’s existence and were then put before computers and challenged to process the real data of hundreds of collisions themselves to see if they could spot the one that emitted the long looked for particles.”

Sixth form pupils from several schools took part, each vying for the honour of finding the Higgs collision. However, Monmouth School for Girls pupil Katie was the only student to succeed – quite an achievement.

Mr Dunn added: “Pupils were then treated to a lecture on Anti-hydrogen and an entertaining talk by Dr Sam Gregson.

“This was a highly interactive and comedic show, which had audience members up on stage working a mock Large Hadron Collider that displayed proton-proton collisions live on screen.

“Another experiment saw pupils swinging around by enormous elastic bands to emulate the strong atomic force that binds all atomic nuclei together. It was a fun end to a busy and very interesting day.”

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