Masterclasses Introduce High School Students to Particle Physics

Published on 09.03.2018


Today the ICCUB is hosting a new edition of the Masterclass in Particle Physics, held at the ICCUB under the name of Taller de Física de Partícules. A second edition of this activity will be held on 16 March. Altogether, 160 bachelor students from 149 different Catalan high schools will take a day off from school to come to the ICCUB and dive into the actual data. ICCUB researchers will introduce them to the tiniest building blocks of the universe and to the accelerators and detectors which probe these mysterious particles. By analyzing real data from experiments at CERN´s Large Hadron Collider, or LHC, students will get a taste of how modern physics research works.

Particle physics is one of the most important emerging fields in science. The discovery of the Higgs boson at the LHC in summer 2012 led to a large public interest in understanding particle physics. In a daylong Masterclass, high school students can explore this field of cutting-edge physics by working with authentic data from experiments at the LHC under the supervision of physicists.

The basic idea of the program is to let students work as much as possible like real scientists. Four experiments - ATLAS, CMS, ALICE, and LHCb - have made data for educational use within the program. The data used at the ICCUB will correspond to the LHCb experiment, to which researchers of the Experimental Particle Physics group have made important technical and scientific contributions. Similarly to what occurs in real scientific collaborative environments, the activity will include a connection in a videoconference with physicists at CERN and other student groups from around the world to discuss their results. At the end of the session, The students visit the laboratories of the Physics Faculty of the University of Barcelona, headquarters of the ICCUB.

The Masterclass at ICCUB is part of an annual program called International Masterclasses. Scientists at about 210 universities and laboratories host Masterclasses at their home institutions. The Masterclasses this year are organized for February 15 through March 28 in more than 50 countries worldwide. The worldwide participation reflects the international collaboration in particle physics.

International Masterclasses are organized by the International Particle Physics Outreach Group (IPPOG). IPPOG is an independent group of outreach representatives from countries involved in the research at CERN and other leading research laboratories. The group’s goal is to make particle physics more accessible to the public.

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