12 Jul A-Level Physics trip
The A-Level Physics students arrived at school early Sunday morning before the sun had risen. Weary eyed from little sleep and recent exams they piled into the minibus for the drive to Luton airport. After a smooth flight over Paris and onto the foothills of the Alps, we arrived at Geneva airport and were greeted by a pleasantly warm breeze and the promise of a sunny day. After checking into the hotel and a short rest, we were out to explore the city of Geneva. We visited the Musée d’histoire des sciences, which is located within the beautiful park overlooking Lake Geneva. Here students viewed various exhibits including trying their hand at some mechanical problems, using various sun dials to work out the time of day as well as apparatus to measure time, temperature, electrical properties and uncovering aspects of physics that students have covered during their A-Level course so far.
We then took a pleasant walk along the lakeshore observing the impressive fountain at a distance before a boat ride across to the other side of the lake during which the views of the surrounding mountains were amazing. Then it was time to fuel up with an authentic Italian pizza for dinner and an essential stop for gorgeous gelato to wash it down as we meandered through the city streets back towards the hotel.
Monday morning we were well-fed from our hotel breakfast and ready for our visit to CERN. It was amazing to meet Professor Mario Campanelli from UCL (University College London) who gave us an introductory lecture about the history of CERN and the research that has been carried out there. He then gave us a tour of the very first particle accelerator that was built on the site in 1957 and took us through the developments that happened up to this day and the current use of the LHC (Large Hadron Collider). We visited the control room at ATLAS, which is one of the particle detectors working on innovative research to find the fundamental building blocks of matter and the forces that govern their interaction. We then visited the ‘microcosm’ exhibit which guided us what we know so far about the particles that make up our universe and about the early particle accelerators. Overall, it was a privilege to visit the site and for the students to gain a deeper understanding into the research that is carried out at CERN and I hope they really enjoyed a memorable visit.
KS5 Physics Lead