CERN Beamline For Schools 2016 Competition

Two teams of high-school students from the UK and Poland had the opportunity to conduct their own experiments at a fully equipped CERN beamline, after winning the third Beamline for Schools competition.

The teams, “Pyramid Hunters” from Poland and “Relatively Special” from the United Kingdom, spent 10 days at CERN conducting the experiments they had dreamt up in their winning proposals.

The Beamline for Schools competition gives high-school students the chance to run an experiment on a fully equipped CERN beamline, in the same way researchers do at the Large Hadron Collider and other CERN facilities every day.

The two teams, totaling 16 students, were selected out of 151 applications from 37 countries around the world, representing more than 1250 high-school students who engaged with particle physics as they worked on coming up with feasible experiments to test.

Pyramid Hunters is a team of seven students from the Liceum Ogólnokształcące im. Marsz. St. Małachowskiego. Their project involved measuring how limestone absorbs fundamental particle called muons. They hoped to use this knowledge to understand data from an old 3D image made of the Chephren pyramid using a technique called muon tomography. The technique builds images in a similar way to a CT scan, but muons are used as they can penetrate through thicker material than X-rays.

“It’s been a great experience and also a great chance to contribute to other experiments and mix with other cultures,” says Kamil Krakowski, a member of the Pyramid Hunters team.

“CERN is like a city where even if people work hard and do a lot of research, they still have time to sit together and talk,” another member of team, Kamil Szymczak, explains.

Relatively Special, from Colchester Royal Grammar School, aimed to test the validity of the Special Relativity theory using the decay rate of particles called pions.

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