Energy Coast UTC visit the CERN nuclear research facility in Geneva

At the start of January the Energy Coast UTC Science department, led by Director of Learning Ian Lindner, took a group of GCSE and A level students to Geneva, Switzerland for 5 days, with the focus of the visit an inspirational day at the renowned CERN nuclear research facility. CERN is the European Organisation for Nuclear Research and the largest particle physics laboratory in the world; it is at the forefront of scientific discovery.

The visit comprised a guided tour, including of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator – the group were lucky enough to travel 100m underground to see the LHC, a rarity for visitors – as well as an exciting hands-on workshop where the students built their own particle detector. The subject matter covered during the visit linked directly to the work the UTC does with Year 12 students on particles, with connections to the new GCSE specification.

The group also had the opportunity to soak up the local culture and beautiful Swiss weather with visits to the wonderful United Nations buildings, the National History Museum, Geneva Museum of Art and History and a night-time walking tour of the old city. They rounded off their experience with a boat trip on Lake Geneva.

Cherry Tingle, Principal, said of the visit ‘This trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity to travel underground and see, at first hand, the workings of the particle accelerator and discuss this with prize-winning physicists. I’m very envious!’

Year 13 student and Head Boy Ellis Dineley said ‘This was my first trip out of the UK and it did not disappoint. I was most looking forward to visiting CERN and the United Nations buildings, and both were a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity. Our CERN tour guide was great, and I don’t think we would ever have had the chance to get so close to the LHC unless we were actually working on it. It was also really interesting talking to the United Nations employees about their experiences. The trip was a great learning experience and has really helped me with my studies.’