The Discovery of the Higgs Boson – A Step Closer to the Big Bang

With the recent discovery of a Higgs boson at the LHC and the inroads made in the understanding of dark matter and dark energy – 2013 is a great year to discuss the connection of astronomy, cosmology, particle physics and accelerators with A-level pupils.The University of Oxford organised in collaboration with CERN a one-day school to give A-level teachers an opportunity to learn about the phenomena and scientific challenges which connect astronomy, cosmology, particle physics and the physics of particle accelerators.Participating teachers had the opportunity this year to learn more about the acceleration due to Earth’s gravitational field, called ‘g’, and connections between astronomy, cosmology and particle physics. The school addressed questions such as “What is the origin of the Universe and of matter?” “What are the fundamental particles and forces?”, “How do the LHC or other particle accelerators work?” “How are the LHC experiments connected to astronomy?” and “What are the applications of particle accelerators in our daily lives?”The participating teachers measured g in the laboratory at the University of Oxford. We aim to eventually generate a map of the local variations of the acceleration due to gravity around the UK. This experiment will involve pupils around the country in what could become a very large (in terms of number of participants) physics experiment. By combining all of the data (acceleration and location), we could build one of the most accurate maps of UK’s gravitational field yet made.Past APPEAL events (APPEAL-1APPEAL-2  and  APPEAL-3) were very successful.The APPEAL-4 event took place on Saturday, 15 June 2013 at the University of Oxford.The organisers are grateful for the support received from the following organisations:
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Professor Steven Balbus – Savilian Professor of Astronomy at the University of Oxford

Professor Ken Peach – Co-Director, Particle Therapy Cancer Research Institute (part of the Oxford Martin School)

Professor Andrei Seryi – Director, John Adams Institute for Accelerator Science at the University of Oxford

Dr. Suzie Sheehy – Research Fellow and 2010 Brunel Fellow

Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory

Professor Emmanuel Tsesmelis – CERN Directorate Office and Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford

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