Exciting trip of a lifetime to Geneva laboratory for nine and ten year-old pupils
The children with Sir Tejinder Singh Virdee
Eight budding physicists from Wormholt Park Primary School in White City have just experienced the trip of a lifetime to CERN in Switzerland, the European laboratory for particle physics.
Led by teacher Natisha Virdee, the group of nine and ten year-olds flew to Geneva to spend a fascinating day at the centre which explores the universe – and were given a personal guided tour by Sir Tejinder Singh Virdee - who just happens to be her dad!
"We saw the main office of CERN, had lunch, then looked at the compact muon solenoid – the detector at the Large Hadron Collider," says Natisha.
Wearing hard hats and safety gear, the group descended 100m in a lift, and were lucky enough to witness some of the segments of the specialised equipment – which extends in a giant 27km ring – being moved for maintenance.
Professor Virdee, who has been one of the lead scientists at CERN for more than 30 years, showed the children around, then explained that the detector they were looking at was effectively a large camera taking an astonishing 40million pictures a second.
Among the question he fielded from the young visitors were: "What inspired you to become a scientist?" and "Is there a lot of anti-matter still left in the universe?"
"They had a wonderful time on this once-in-a-lifetime experience," says Natisha, who described the pictures of particles colliding as looking like 'an explosion of fireworks'.
"When the possibility of this trip became reality, the children did a lot of research of their own, so they were able to ask really good questions."
The pupils in the party had done their homework and are are now so well versed in particle physics that they are now planning a presentation on what they learned to fellow students at the school in Bryony Road.
You can see lots more pictures of the children's exciting day on the school's website.
The children next to the CERN Large Hadron Collider
August 5, 2019