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On Monday 5th December, a group of sixth formers travelled to Geneva, Switzerland in order to visit CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, to explore the world’s largest particle physics laboratory.
The first day was spent visiting the History of Science museum, sightseeing (which included taking a water taxi across lake Geneva) and attempting to articulate what pizza toppings we needed in French. 
On day two we travelled by tram to arrive at CERN building 33 and begin our tour.
 We started our visit to CERN with a visit to the Globe of Science and Innovation we confronted the great questions of contemporary physics: "where do the particles that make up the universe come from?” and "what laws govern their behaviour?”
 We then visited the Microcosm exhibition which retold the story of CERN’s scientific adventure through multimedia exhibits, actual machines, games and experiments.  We learnt about cosmic rays, antiprotons, quarks and gluons and why such massive apparatus is required to study the constituents of matter.
After the exhibitions, we went to the CERN staff restaurant to give us an opportunity to pause and review the morning - and also to absorb the feeling of being surrounded by brilliant minds!
The afternoon kicked off with a lecture by Dr Alexandre Zabi – a particle Physicist working in the CMS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider who whose personal field is the origin of mass.  He introduced us to the science surrounding the high energy proton collisions, and the application of the discoveries they have made to the fields of particle physics, astronomy and the formation of the early universe, as well as medical applications of accelerators and anti-proton beams.
 We were then taken across the border into France where we entered the Cryogenic test facility.
Then we were taken to another building which turned out to house the CERN Control room, and we were able to view key scientists doing their day to day job.
The huge scale of this world class experiment was truly amazing and we all felt dwarfed in its presence.  
We travelled into Geneva to the Natural History Museum.  Also visited the top local attractions of the Geneva Fountain and the Flower Clock as well as an art installation along the way.
Finally we collected our bags and returned to England.

Posted: 15/12/2016 at 09:57
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