STUDENTS from St Mary’s College recently made a historic trip to the CERN European Organisation for Nuclear Research in Switzerland.
The 14 Crosby pupils from years 10, 11 and 12 were at the complex in Geneva in the same week that scientists announced the discovery of the Higgs boson particle.
The particle was the subject of a 45-year hunt to explain how matter attains its mass.
St. Mary’s Head of Physics, Dr Matthew Leach, said the students were incredibly impressed with the world’s largest particle physics laboratory which is home to the famous Large Hadron Collider.
He said: “It was amazing to be visiting CERN at a time when they were announcing the discovery of the Higgs boson to the world.
“Our students were fascinated by the sheer complexity and scale of the facility, and how so many branches of physics and engineering are brought together in its work.
“It was a real privilege to take this group of enthusiastic, knowledgeable and polite students to Switzerland. They will certainly remember the trip for the rest of their lives,”
Their visit included a lecture on the work of CERN and a guided tour of the ATLAS experiment which played an important role in the Higgs boson discovery.
They also saw the organisation's superconducting magnets facility – just over the border in nearby France – and ate lunch in the CERN cafeteria.
However, the Swiss trip wasn’t all about science. The St Mary’s pupils also visited the United Nations building in Geneva, the city’s Natural History Museum and a medieval village at Yvoire in France.
A team of six scientists from the University of Liverpool’s renowned physics department worked at the collider.
University of Liverpool physicist Dr Barry King, 55, was a member of one of two teams which have been working independently using the £2.6bn Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) to discover the elusive particle, known as the Higgs boson.
Higgs boson was put forward by Prof Peter Higgs half a century ago as the missing link in theories about what holds the universe together.
The machine recreates conditions trillionths of seconds after the ‘big bang' when scientists believe the universe began.