The A level physics students in year 13 had the invaluable opportunity to visit Geneva, Switzerland ,for a chance to learn some particle physics at the world’s largest particle collider, CERN, walk through the thought-provoking United Nations and Red Cross and crescent museum and of course , try the local delicacy that is Swiss fondue!
The first day mainly involved travelling, as well as a spontaneous night time walk around the city. Day two in Geneva began with an authentic Swiss breakfast involving a selection of meats, cheese, yoghurt, muesli and toast with fresh jam. The day started with a walk alongside the stunning lake as everyone made their way towards the old quarter of Geneva in which they explored St. Peters Cathedral and its surrounding areas. Following this, a tram was taken to the main event of the trip, CERN! Upon arrival everyone entered the Microcosm, an exhibition which gave an insight into CERN’s monumental experiments and the experts and the professionals that it takes to ensure it functions and runs smoothly. Year 13 then enjoyed a variety of lunch options in the diverse cafeteria to which Dr Gurr discovered a machine that makes fresh orange juice in front of your eyes! It was now time for a lecture with Dr Alexandre Zabi on the history of CERN and a dive into the wonderful phenomena that is particle physics. It was later mentioned by Dr Zabi that the very room the lecture was held in, Peter Higgs had announced the discovery of the Higgs boson, something that gave people goose bumps! After a tour of various engineering features of cross sections of the particle accelerator a mini bus was taken to the AMS experiment centre where the control room for the AMS experiment aboard the International Space Centre was viewed. It was a truly mind-blowing experience. Unfortunately the Universe of particles exhibition was shut upon arrival however everyone managed to admire the metal structure outside which was engraved with scientific and mathematical equations. The evening was rounded off with a delicious traditional Swiss meal at the Edelweiss Hotel.
The third and last day in Geneva began with the Palais Des Nations where the glorious fountains and the giant broken chair were admired. We walked to the Red Cross and crescent museum which was a truly eye-opening experience, and within the museum was a temporary AIDs exhibition that raised many points about current health problems in the world. Lunch was enjoyed in Geneva’s nearby botanical garden with a peaceful scenery and wildlife. The last activity involved a tour of the United Nations. The first conference room was designed by an Arabic architect with sand-like features, orange carpet, orange walls etc. The next conference room had a grand ceiling with many colourful spikes but sadly photos were prohibited as a conference was commencing. The trip ended with some free time to explore the city’s shopping facilities (in which some chose to try some hot chocolate in a local café) and lastly a return to rainy England.