On the 26th of november 2014, after a night spent in Geneva, with our class of scientific 6th years we went to CERN, impatient to learn more about the Universe and its origin. CERN (Centre Européen de Recherche Nucléaire) is a laboratory where 1,000 scientists from 20 countries have joined their forces to study the building bloks of matter and the forces that hold them together. Pakistan is the last country to join this prime example of international collaboration. Not only rich countries but also poorer ones can collaborate in this project.
We started the visit by learning about the Universe through a lecture and after an exhibition. The lecturer taught us that in a Planck time (10-43 of a second) which followed the Big Bang, the Universe grew a trillion times. It was at this moment that all the matter we know was created. He told us about matter, antimatter, atoms, protons and more. It’s all very advanced. The Universe of Particles exhibition helped us understand all the theories and experiments with a movie. But it’s still far too complicated and even if all of us understand better now, we can’t explain everything.
After our lunch, we went to see the most important part of CERN: the LHC (Large Hadron Collider). It’s a 27 kilometers ring of superconducting magnets and the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator. It’s in this ring that scientists accelerate two proton beams close to the speed of light, before making them collide in the middle of a huge detector called CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid). That day we were lucky to go 100m underground and visit the inside of this detector. There is actually work in progress to improve the superconducting magnets of the detector. If the detector was active, we wouldn’t be able to see it because of the radioactivity emitted by the protons.
The LHC is being upgraded in order to run at higher energies in March 2015. Scientists will look for the graviton, which is the elementary particle responsible for gravity and not yet experimentally observed. However, a big mystery remains: what are the dark matter and the dark energy that make up 95% of the Universe? They will also work on this complex theoretical subject.
To finish we would like to thanks Mrs Frank, our physic teacher, who convinced CERN to open its door and allowed us to visit the 100m underground accelerator.
TALUSSOT Tamara, CHARPENTIER Juliette, DUCROHËT Marie