CERN: A day devoted to Particle Physics

For quick facts and a better summary than I could manage, look here!

This morning at 8:30am GMT, the world’s largest and one of the most important physics experiments was switched on. The Large Hadron Collider, situated on the Swiss/Franco border, near Geneva, and found 100m underground, the 27km long circular tube began accelerating small particles of matter to speeds close to the speed of light. Two beams of protons are fired in opposite through a vacuum at temperatures colder than those found in deep space. It’ll take about a month for them to reach the speeds wanted before they allow the two beams to overlap, and let the protons collide – at these high energies, it is hoped that a new particle will be discovered – the Higgs Boson.

After about 40 years of colliding protons elsewhere in the world, the existence of the ‘God particle’ has still not been confirmed – now, on a much larger scale, physicists believe that they will be found. If they are, it’ll prove many theories that are surround physics – e.g. the Higgs field; it’ll explain why some objects have mass, while others don’t. But, even if nothing is found, it’ll still be useful – it’d show us that we have severely misunderstood something; that one of their assumptions is wrong, allowing them to rethink and rediscover, which may lead to the right answer.

CERN and the LHC will be a major stepping stone as physicists search for an ever simpler and more ‘beautiful’ solution to the puzzles of our universe.

Watch the videos below for a better explanation than I could write!

CERN in 3 minutes:

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Why not learn about CERN in rap form?

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Science Centre workshop

2 C3 recently played host to visitors from the Science Centre Education project. In this workshop, pupils were forced to examine their thoughts on genetic engineering – was it a force for good or the refuge of the morally bankrupt? During the session, they looked at the occurence of GM foods and which nations had opted for GM research. They finished the session posing as politicians (aren’t all politicians posers??) and proposing various policies they would implement if in power (or when in power!) . Our future is indeed in safe hands!

Well done to 2 C3.

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An Archimedes riddle…

Archimedes was no slouch! The Greek mathematician was also a physicist, engineer, inventor and astronomer in his spare time!

He is most well known for his “Eureka moment”…

The most commonly related anecdote about Archimedes tells how he invented a method for measuring the volume of an object with an irregular shape. According to Vitruvius, a new crown in the shape of a laurel wreath had been made for King Hiero II and Archimedes was asked to determine whether it was of solid gold – or whether silver had been added by a dishonest goldsmith. Archimedes had to solve the problem without damaging the crown, so he could not melt it down in order to measure its density as a cube (which would have been the simplest solution).

While taking a bath, he noticed that the level of the water rose as he got in. He realised that this effect could be used to determine the volume of the crown. For practical purposes water is incompressible, so the crown would displace an amount of water equal to its own volume. By dividing the weight of the crown by the volume of water displaced, its density could be obtained.

In other words, the density of the crown would be lower if cheaper and less dense metals had been added…

Archimedes then took to the streets naked  (so excited by his discovery that he had forgotten to dress!)  crying “Eureka!” (“I have found it!”)

So what is your Archimedes Riddle?

You are sitting in a rubber boat in a swimming pool. In the boat lies a stone. You throw this stone from the boat into the pool. Will the water level in the pool rise or drop?

Over to you…

Chemistry Resources



BBC BITESIZE can be found as part of the BBC website – or in hard copy. The Standard Grade Chemistry Bitesize Revision textbook can be an invaluable revision resource.


Evans2chem website, run by Preston Lodge PT Chemistry, Mr G Evans, is also a resource that we encourage our pupils to use – the ability for the classroom teacher to get emailed feedback from the website as to how any of their students have done in an online assessment is invaluable.


The Revision Aid website provides a number of links to on line resources including Doc Brown’s Chemistry Clinic and Revise Guys…

run every Wednesday after school in Mr Evans’ room. All welcome.