Beamline For Schools Competition 2015

November 17, 2014 – At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. They use the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter. Particles are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives physicists clues about how the particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature.

The instruments used at CERN are purpose-built particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before the beams are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions. A large part of CERN’s research and development is carried out on these so-called fixed-target beamlines.

There is stiff competition for access to the laboratory’s unique facilities, but in 2015, CERN will once again be making a fully equipped beamline available to schools. Beam time will be allocated to the one or more teams that win the 2015 beamline for schools contest.

The competition is open to high-school students aged 16 or older, in teams of up to 30 students. Teams may be composed of students from a single school, or a number of schools working together. The winning team, or teams, will be invited to send nine students, all expenses paid, to CERN for a period of one week to carry out experiments on the beam line.

Proposals will be pre-selected by a committee of CERN scientists, with the short list being sent on to the SPS and PS experiments Committee (SPSC), the committee that validates all proposals for experiments at the laboratory’s SPS and PS accelerators.

The first step is to register your team and tell CERN why you think you should win time to conduct your experiments on the beamline. Registration closes at midnight CET on January 31, 2015. Teams will then need to submit a written proposal and a 1-minute video about the proposed experiment by March 31, 2015.

The beamline for schools team will hold a Google+ hangout in English on December 4, 2014 at 5 pm CET on CERN’s YouTube channel. Researchers from CERN, as well as last year’s winning teams, will be on hand to answer questions.

For more information about how to apply and to read about the winning teams from 2014, see the beamline for schools web site: