On Wednesday, 20th March, Poetry student Alexandros Papadias attended a full day International Physics Masterclass, at Maynooth University, coordinated by the International Particle Physics Outreach Group, in co-operation with the European Organisation of Nuclear Research, CERN. Alexandros tells us what happened…
Approximately 40 fifth and sixth-year secondary students attended the event. In the morning we were introduced to several aspects of particle physics, relating to the fundamental particles of matter and forces, as well as what may have happened during and after the Big Bang, through lectures given by active particle physics researchers.
After having lunch with lecturers and tutors from the Department of Physics, we worked on our own performing measurements with data from the ALICE detector at CERN, which gave us an insight into the world of quarks and leptons. We used coding software which produced a 3-D virtual image of the collisions of the particles. Our job was to investigate each of the events and calculate the number of quarks and antiquarks there were after the collision, and distinguish between the different types of particles.
We then participated in a video conference with students across several European countries and moderators at CERN, during which we discussed and compared the results we had achieved in working with the data.
This workshop is held annually, and I would strongly recommend it to any fifth or sixth-year student interested in exploring the fascinating world of particle physics.