Written by Sixth Form student Tom G:
On the 14th of September, twenty-one U6 physicists, four French students and four members of staff embarked on a four-day trip to Geneva, a scientific, diplomatic and cultural hub nestled on the French border in Switzerland. The key focus of the trip was our day spent in CERN, and while we weren’t able to view any active particle accelerators without being blasted apart, we did visit the ATLAS detector which helped discover the elusive Higgs boson in 2012. We were also lucky enough to be taken on a tour of some of the facilities by a PhD student from Sheffield University, who also gave us a talk about his experience studying physics and working at CERN.
We were also able to spend time looking around the Geneva headquarters of the United Nations, taking in the views from the top of the cathedral, and we spent a memorable night beneath the iconic Jet d’Eau – thankfully the wind was on our side meaning we didn’t get completely drenched! As another welcome break from the particle physics, we found ourselves fully immersed in Swiss cuisine with two nights of fondue: a gruyere-filled experience which none of us will forget for a gouda while. Our last night in Switzerland featured an impromptu dance party with a live DJ by the shores of Lake Geneva, which the teachers assure was a first in the history of this physics trip!
Just like how the work taking place at CERN is only possible because of the hours of work put in by the scientists and engineers, our trip was made possible by the efforts of our fantastic teachers, Mr O’Toole, Miss Howes, Dr Jukes, and of course Mr Clifford. I couldn’t recommend this trip enough to any future sixth form students taking physics, although I would advise that they pace themselves when tackling a steaming pot of fondue!