If you’re a young person with an aptitude for science, there is no doubt that a visit to CERN can open your eyes to a career in physics or engineering. If neither your school nor your family can afford the travel and accommodation costs, that potentially life-changing opportunity could pass you by.
Recognizing that able students from less well-off families can be disadvantaged in their education spurred Sir Peter Ogden to set up the Ogden Trust. The Trust is specifically aimed at encouraging and promoting the teaching and learning of physics. One of its partnership programmes provides funding to enable young people to visit CERN, and a group from Glasgow has recently returned from spending 2½ days being inspired by a combination of tours, talks and activities.
Twelve students from nine different schools in the east end of Glasgow took part in the visit, which was organized by the CERN Education group, University of Glasgow and Science Connects, with support from Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre. The students were the winners of a competition in which they had to say why they wanted to visit CERN in either a short article, video or poster.
For the group, an important part of the trip was having dinner with Scottish graduate students working at CERN and realizing that these role models are “just normal people”. Aidan Robson led the visit for University of Glasgow. “Over the course of a few days at CERN, I could really see the level of understanding developing, reflected in the questions I was being asked," he said. "The visit was clearly hugely inspiring and we will be keeping in touch with the participants to offer help with things like university applications."