Particle Physics Masterclass 2012

Particle Physics Masterclass

Every year various colleges and research establishments put on Particle Physics Masterclasses and this year Rooksheath Year 13s were privileged to be able to attend the Particle Physics Masterclass at the Rutherford Appleton laboratory on the 15th of March.

Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is near Didcot in Oxfordshire and supports research in areas including materials and structures, light sources, astronomy and particle physics.

Every year about 10,000 scientists and engineers use the Laboratory’s facilities to advance their research.

Find out more by clicking about the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory on the links below

If you are a Rooksheath student you will eventually be able to see the original powerpoints on the A2 physics section on fronter.

The day started with a lecture by Dr Glenn Patrick on A very brief guide to particle accelerators.

He began by looking at the history of probing matter. How four hundred years ago light microscopes and telescopes were used.

He then went on to describe how the Large Hadron Collider and the Hubble Deep Field Telescope are now able to look at smaller and smaller things and larger and larger things.

Electromagnetic waves are used to do the probing and the shorter wavelengths allow us to look at smaller objects.

Dr Patrick then went on to talk about Cosmic Rays.

On the 12th April (2012) it is the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Cosmic Rays by Victor Hess. Cosmic Rays are the highest energy particles and they are very difficult to control.

Dr Patrick went on to remind all the A level students about the behaviour of charged particles in a magnetic field.

He continued with a short history of discovery of the structure of the atom and how Cockcoft and Walton were the first people to break up the nucleus.

Dr Patrick then went on to describe the development of particle accelerators.

A fixed magnetic field keeps particles moving in a circle. The size of the magnet is the limiting factor in a cyclotron.

Synchrotron has a varying magnetic field and provides kicks of energy. Blue magnets control the focussing (quadrapoles) and the red magnets control the trajectories (Dipole). There are also corrector magnets.

Normally synchrotron radiation is considered a nuisance but Diamond uses it.

The International Linear Collider is the next step in particle accelerators.

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