Two weeks to go to register for beam line for schools

The Proton Synchrotron beam line (Image: CERN)

With registration closing on 31 January, what would you do if you could conduct a real experiment on a CERN proton beam line? As part of this year’s 60th anniversary celebrations, CERN has launched a beam line for schools competition.

CERN is inviting students aged 16 and upward from anywhere in the world to submit a proposal to do an experiment with a beam of particles from the Proton Synchrotron beam line. Each team can be composed of up to 30 students with at least one adult supervisor. This summer, up to nine students of the selected team will be invited to CERN to run the team’s experiment. Travelling and living expenses for the selected group will be covered by CERN.

The competition mirrors the real way that researchers bid for access to the laboratory's unique facilities. Students need to first register by the end of January, then submit a proposal for a research project to be conducted at the beam line by the end of March. The proposals will be pre-selected by a group of CERN scientists, and will then be reviewed by the same committee that validates all proposals for experiments at the laboratory’s Super Proton Synchrotron and Proton Synchrotron accelerators.

So what could you be doing? Essentially, you can investigate how beams of particles interact with matter. For example, you could study what happens when beams containing different types of particles hit targets made of various materials. The proposals will be judged on creativity, motivation, feasibility and adherence to the scientific method.

To help you understand what can be done, we have put together a short presentation that explains the basics about particles and beams. These short talks are available in English, French, Italian, Spanish and German and are part of a YouTube playlist that includes recordings of Google hangouts in English, French, Italian, Spanish and German, in which CERN scientists answer questions.

Here is your chance to come to run your own experiment at CERN. This will last about a week and take place in July, August or September. CERN physicists will be helping you to refine your idea before and during your stay at CERN.

Interested? Then you can stay up-to-date via the CERN website, #bl4s on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or YouTube.

Don’t hesitate to fill out the registration form before 31 January 2014. All you need to do at this point is send us the name of the school and of the participants as well as a tweet-of-intent stating why you think you should win this competition. You will still have until 31 March to prepare your full project, including a 1-minute video giving the highlights. Here is your chance!