On Monday February 20, a delegation of PsiStar students have visited CERN and its facilities. They visited the first synchrocyclotron built at CERN in 1954 and then they went underground to visit the cathedral-size CMS and ATLAS experiments, taking data at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).
Guided by Dr Marcella Bona (QMUL) who has been an official CERN guide since 2007, the QMUL physics PsiStar students have learned about the history of CERN, its missions and its current developments. They could see the first accelerator built at CERN and appreciate the details of its operation via a spectacular light show on the machine itself. Then they had the possibility to go 100 metres underground and visit the cavern where the CMS experiment is located. CMS is one of the four experiments taking data at the LHC, notably the heaviest. QMUL students could admire its 12,000 tons of red iron and silver instruments (see picture), while physicists and technicians were working on its maintenance.
Last but not least, they descended again 100 metres underground to admire also the ATLAS detector: ATLAS is the largest of the four experiments with a height of 26 metres, equivalent to a 9-storey building. Its extraordinary size fills completely the underground cavern where it is located, leaving the visitors impressed by the imposing structure. The QMUL Particle Physics Research Center is member of the ATLAS Collaboration, thus some of the students will have the possibility to work on ATLAS data for their research projects.