Year 13 students visit CERN

Year 13 students visited the CERN in early December 2018 – and were left ‘wondering the immeasurable’.

The CERN and the chair

I have been running in the dark and the chair almost just appears in front of me. I am captured by its size and struck by the loudness of its message. I walk around it; it has a broken leg. I observe it, the chair is tall but broken, strong but broken, proud but broken.

Across it, sits the remarkable building of the Palais des Nations; it is impossible not to feel a shiver when admiring the togetherness of the flags; 193 tall, strong and proud spikes crowned with colourful fabrics.  The neoclassical palace was built for the peaceful collaboration between nations and yet, the chair is the symbol of the dichotomy of the meaning of collaboration.

No ambiguities the day before when I had the joy of accompanying Year 13 students on their annual trip to the CERN. Built in 1954 to prevent the exodus of European scientists to America, it bears an acronym which has now become obsolete, the nucleus of the atom has been conquered for a while; now in the CERN, they make dark matter!

The students mingle to perfection with scientists and visitors. They explore, they listen they ask and they wonder.

The CERN is the largest laboratory in the world but above all, it is there where the words peaceful collaboration acquires its true meaning. The data from the experiments carried out at 100 m underground in the border between France and Switzerland is sent to over 600 universities and institutes around the world; this is the birth place of the www forged, precisely for the purpose of sharing and working together.

The by-products of research carried out by thousands of scientists results in formidable technological advances.  From medical technologies that saves lives (PET scam), to new ways of communication, meteorological progress, aerospace applications to name some.

I watch the forever young year 13s as they look at the symbols written on the ‘wondering the immeasurable’ ribbons. They cheer every time they spot a formula they recognize from their physics lessons and then I am sure; one day with the advances from the Cern, all the year 13’s of the Kingsburies of the world working together will fix the chair.

Text and photos by Maria Gonzales – Physics Teacher

Physics at University & Beyond

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Thank you to Kathryn Coldham, Natasha Hehir and Stephen Gurney, three University students from the School of Physics and Astronomy at Queen Mary University of London, who came in to give an insight into what physics studies at university look like.

It included a demonstration of angular momentum and how this relates not only to our everyday experiences but to the Universe as well, there was an exercise deriving E=mc2, and discussions of how Physics at university  is different from school and what it can enable you to do in terms of careers.

Physics Lectures: Einstein’s Revolutionary Ideas

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On Wednesday 2nd March 2016 Dr Peter Ford from the University of Bath and Dr Vincent Smith from the University of Bristol visited Kingsbury High School to deliver lectures surrounding areas of Physics.

Dr Ford’s area of expertise is Low Temperature Physics and Dr Smith has worked at CERN for more than 30 years.

The first lecture saw Dr Smith meet with Year 12 and 13 students to talk about Higgs boson. He explained how the Higgs boson was finally found at CERN and how this fantastic discovery has come to reinforce the Standard Model, which explains what the world is and what holds it together.

The second lecture was held after school and looked at some of Einstein’s more revolutionary ideas, in particular The Brownian motion, The Photo-electric Effect and Special Relativity.

Dr Ford opened the lecture and took the audience on a journey to the political, economic, social and scientific situation of 1897: the year Einstein was born.

This was continued by Dr Smith who, with clever touches of humour and clear demonstrations, explained Einstein’s revolutionary ideas of 1905.

Science Teacher at Kingsbury High, Maria Gonzales, organised the lectures and said “Dr Ford gave an excellent overview of the historical background required to fully understand the relevance of any revolutionary idea and Dr Smith’s enthusiasm captivated our students’ attention. His easy-to-answer, but relevant questions, maintained interest and encouraged our students to participate. Formulae for kinetic energy or how to link space and time were confidently shouted out. All this, while a beach ball, used to explain random motion, kept floating over our heads propelled by the joyful hands of the audience. It was very entertaining and a truly educational evening.”

The event was a huge success with more than 20 teachers and well over 100 enthusiastic students giving up their own time to attend. Members of the community were also in attendance.

Students apply physics to football at the Emirates Stadium

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Students from Kingsbury High School took part in a day of physics and football at Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium on May 15, 2015. The day concluded an eight-week program to engage students with science by applying it to football.

Prior to the day, students had been attending after-school physics and football clubs where they learnt about such concepts as projectiles, impact area and centre of mass and applied their knowledge in practice on the football pitch.

The project was made possible by a grant from the John Lyon’s Charity and was run in partnership with the Institute of Physics (IOP) and Arsenal and Queen’s Park Rangers (QPR) football clubs.

Arsenal has an existing education program that combines football with learning in several curriculum areas, called the Arsenal Double Club. Arsenal in the Community education officer Jack McNicholl said that through it, the club aimed to use football to encourage young people with their learning and to interest them in new things. He said: “It’s been great to work with the Institute of Physics to develop football sessions that help our participants to understand how physics applies to their everyday lives.”

During the program, IOP physics coaches worked alongside each school’s physics teacher to help students explore physics concepts. They then worked with a PE teacher, or a coach from Arsenal in the Community or QPR to apply their knowledge on the pitch.

At the event, the focus was on the spin and trajectory of the ball and why footballers sometimes kick across the ball rather than straight through it. Students learnt how an additional force comes into play when the ball has spin, and experimented with backspin, topspin and sidespin to see how this changes the path of the ball.

As well as football training and physics activities, the day included a tour of the Emirates Stadium and each of the students were given Arsenal-branded attendance certificates and a goody bag to take home. As well as Kingsbury High School, other participating schools included The Crest Academies, Whitefield School and William Ellis School.

The IOP’s project coordinator, Manchi Chung, said: “This has been a unique partnership with Arsenal and QPR, working together to show that physics and its way of thinking can appeal to any and all students, exploring with them how physics does have something to say about how players can refine their footballing techniques on the pitch.”

Thanks to the IOP for the photography.

Institute of Physics Awards Dinner

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Kingsbury High School’s Sixth Form student, Jade Constantinou, was selected to co-host at the Institute of Physics (IOP) annual awards dinner which took place on Wednesday 15th October 2014.  Jade spent her summer volunteering at, and signing up to, various Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) organisations including the Science & Technology Faculties Council; spending a day at the University College London’s Observatory with Teaching Fellow in Astronomy, Dr Steve Fossey; a two week internship at Laing O’Rourke; and applying to the Social Mobility Foundation’s Aspiring Professionals Programme, where she was introduced to the possibility of becoming an orator for the IOP’s prestigious awards ceremony.

The selection process involved an interview where Jade was up against students from various colleges. Jade was successful and was selected alongside, A Level Physics student, Renato from Woodhouse College in Finchley.

Jade said “I received an email informing me that I had been chosen to be one of the orators for the event. The institute had never used students to present the awards before, so we had a lot of preparation in rehearsals. We wrote our own introductions and we had to know how to say all of the technical terms and names of the award winners correctly. It would have been quite embarrassing if we had mispronounced any names in front of all these great physicists and scientists.

“It’s been an amazing experience. Most people wouldn’t get the opportunity that I had and I’m really, really grateful that I got it. It’s been a really good insight into making connections; working; building up my skills; and knowing how the real world works. In the future I definitely want to pursue something in the Physics sector. It has really inspired me to represent Physics more and to represent women going in to Physics.”

Dr Frances Saunders, President of the Institute of Physics, said “We were delighted to have Jade and Renato join us for the dinner.  It was wonderful to have two such enthusiastic physics students with us for the evening.  They did an incredible job and we’re very grateful.  Kingsbury should be proud to have such a confident ambassador. I wish them all the very best in their future endeavours.”

Photography: The Institute of Physics. View more here.