Students in the CERN Control Centre on European Researcher's Night (Image: CERN)
On 28 September 2012, CERN researchers met with young physics enthusiasts to share knowledge about the LHC and its experiments.
“This third European Researchers Night at CERN attracted over 250 young people aged between 13 and 18,” says Laëtitia Pedroso of the CERN Communications Group, who helped to organize the event. “No fewer than 77 volunteers made themselves available to give these young people a very special evening.”
Participants were selected by questionnaire. The successful applicants spent two or three hours with the researchers, visiting either the CERN Control Centre (CCC) or one LHC experiment out of ATLAS, CMS, ALICE, TOTEM or LHCb. The researchers organized activities to keep the participants entertained: while the older children were identifying particles created in collisions at ATLAS, for example, the youngest ones were reconstructing a jigsaw puzzle of an accelerator at the CCC.
Those who had really got the bug were able to extend the experience by visiting SM18 accompanied by engineers who helped to build the LHC, and by meeting women physicists at the permanent exhibitions. “There was a great sense of enthusiasm amongst these young people, whether they came from the local area of from far afield," says Corinne Pralavorio, head of communications with the local area. “Many of them consulted volunteers from the Human Resources department who informed them about careers and training."
Thanks to social networks and an effective publicity strategy, the latest European Researchers Night at CERN was well attended. Some of the young people had travelled from Norway, the United Kingdom or Turkey, some even travelling more than 2000 km over a weekend for this once-in-a-lifetime experience at the laboratory.
The students left starry-eyed while the volunteers, fired with enthusiasm, were happy to have shared their passion for research.