CERN and the L.H.C
This Easter a group of Year 13 physicists from Harris Crystal Palace flew to Geneva to visit the Large Hadron Collider at CERN near Geneva.
We arrived at our accommodation, a well maintained Youth Hostel in the centre of Geneva, late on Monday night. After an exhausting flight, the bunks looked very attractive, and our first night in Geneva was a quiet one.
We were up early the next day, and after a Swiss breakfast we boarded the tram out of the city centre and into the suburbs.
We spent the morning looking around the public exhibits at the CERN visitors centre, seeing inside a particle detector and the first internet server.
Lunch was a grand event as we visited the CERN staff cafeteria. Sitting amongst the world’s best particle physicists we felt intellectually dwarfed by the other diners. We kept our eyes out for Nobel laureates and thought we spotted a few celebrities of the physics world.
After lunch, we boarded a bus and hopped a few miles over the border to a lab in France. Here we were able to see the actual construction of the accelerator, and were able to marvel at the precision engineering used to build the 27km long super-cooled vacuum the particles travel in.
We then took the bus back into Switzerland and went to visit the ATLAS detector control room. We were amazed at the openness of the facility, you could literally step in amongst real scientists receiving and analysing the data live from the cutting edge of particle physics.
That evening we found ourselves in a Bohemian restaurant on the shores of Lake Geneva, trying fondue for the first time and watching the sun set. We then had some free time to explore the historic city.
The following morning, we checked out of our hostel and took a boat ride across the lake to the old town. We explored the winding staircases and myriad of churches. Shops selling Rolexes and other luxury goods caught our eye and reminded us of the city’s financial importance. We even had time for a game of open air chess near the university.
After grabbing a quick lunch at a tiny Turkish restaurant, we caught the boat back to our hostel, collected our bags then caught the bus to the airport for some souvenir shopping (mostly Swiss chocolate) and our flight home.
Mr Joshi - Teacher of Science