Thanks to the European physics research center CERN, up to 30 high school students will be able to provide an exceptional answer when asked “what did you do over your summer vacation?” CERN is running a contest that will give a team of students the chance to use the output of one of its proton accelerators. If you or your child ever had some creative ideas about what you could smash with a bunch of 25GeV protons, now’s your chance to speak up.
While the LHC is still shut down for upgrades, it’s only the last step of a long chain of accelerators that feeds the collider protons already moving fairly quickly. One of them is the Proton Synchrotron. When it was built, the Proton Synchrotron was at the cutting edge of high-energy physics, but it was soon eclipsed by even larger machines. Since then, however, it’s been used as an intermediary in CERN’s accelerator chain, feeding 25GeV protons into lower energy experiments or into larger accelerators that boost them to higher speeds.
CERN is now allowing groups of students aged 16 and up to design an experiment that they can do with the protons from the Proton Synchrotron. The team with the winning proposal will get to fly nine of its members to Geneva at CERN’s expense, where the team will get to help put their proposal into action. Proposals will be judged by whether they’re creative and have a good scientific foundation, as well as whether they’re technically feasible (sorry, no smashing protons into sharks). Anybody interested in taking part has to act quickly—the contest closes at the end of the month.
via Ars Technica http://feeds.arstechnica.com/~r/arstechnica/index/~3/zJst8pVdo3c/