Year 12 Physics trip to CERN
Unsurprisingly, the idea of waking up before dawn in the Geneva Hostel didn't go down well, especially after arriving at the Hostel late in the previous evening. Luckily, the smooth tram ride to CERN (European Centre for Nuclear Research) provided an appreciated rest before the wave of information that we would be tasked to absorb throughout the rest of the morning. Firstly of all, we were given a presentation by an expert working in CERN, outlining what they actually do there, including research about supersymmetry, what they have achieved, for example the discovery of the Higgs Boson, and what they intend to research in the coming future, like research into dark energy and dark matter.
After crossing the border into France, we visited the CCC (CERN Control Centre), where we were shown animations about how the Large Hadron Collider functions, and then we had a tour around the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid). This is the heaviest and densest of the 4 detectors, and is located 100m below ground level. It is specialised to detect the muons, fragments, and debris from proton-proton collisions inside the detector. After a short mini-bus journey from the detector, we had lunch in the CERN cafeteria, where, despite our best efforts to implement our British talent of queue forming, it was a free for all for the turkey steak. Lunch was followed by visiting a couple of exhibitions, explaining more about experiments at CERN.
The rest of the afternoon was ours to spend exploring the city of Geneva, and with a free transport pass, we could do as we wished. In the evening, we were entertained by an Oompah band at a fondue restaurant, and to Kyle's excitement, they were asking for volunteers to embarrass themselves by attempting to play a huge Alpine Horn.
The next day, we were relieved to have a lie-in, before touring around every museum in Geneva, including the Museum of Natural History, where we saw the remains of the oldest found skeleton of a human being called Lucy. The History of Art museum contained collections of Renaissance military weapons and armour, and prehistoric and Egyptian art, which was a nice change from the scientific assault we'd had up until then! Next to the History of art museum is Geneva's old quarter, which we were free to explore. Mr Smith took a group up the Cathedral towers which let us see across the entire of the city and the lake, it's just a shame that it wasn't clear so we couldn't quite see the mountains and Mont Blanc. Another group went for a wander around the old squares, played giant chess in the park under the Reformation wall and found the world's longest bench!
Sunday gave us the chance for one last walk down the lakeside, where we wandered along one of the jetties into the lake to get a better view of the jet D'eau, before going on a boat trip around the lake itself. Despite it being bitterly cold, the sea shanties and Ed Sheeran being sung by Butler & co kept our spirits high. The few stops saw us visit the History of Science museum and the UN building, before catching our flight home.