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Particle physics, like in real life - research day for students

Physicists the world over are concerned with the smallest building blocks of matter - the elementary particles. Why are these particles so fascinating? How is it even possible to investigate these utterly unfathomable objects? And what can they tell us about the universe and our own existence? A student research day to be held at the Max Planck Institute for Physics on March 7, 2018 aims to provide some answers to these questions.

During the event, students will gain insight into the “nuts and bolts” of particle physics and will work with real research data. The workshop is part of an international scholastic program for particle physics.

The focus will be on experiments conducted at CERN. Inside the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), particles are accelerated and then collide with each other with tremendous energy. The resulting particle tracks are analyzed by scientists using various detectors, for example ATLAS and CMS.

In Munich, more than 60 students from throughout Bavaria will take part in the event. They will be supervised by scientists from Ludwig Maximilian University (LMU) and the Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP). “In the workshop, the participants will analyze real-life experimental data,” says Verena Walbrecht, doctoral student at the MPP. “We want to show them how new scientific discoveries – like the famous Higgs boson – are brought about.”

Results discussion via videoconference

A highlight of the Research Conference will be an international video conference with scientists from CERN. During the conference call, the Munich students will share their findings with their “colleagues” from Lecce and Pisa (Italy), Košice (Slovakia) and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil).

LMU physicist Dr. Sascha Mehlhase explains why: “Universities and research institutes from around the world are involved in experiments like ATLAS. The physicists frequently use video conferences to exchange information. The students will therefore be able to gain real insight into the routine work of scientists.”

The student research days have been held with great success since 2009. Feedback from the students has been excellent, and interest remains strong. The workshop is a joint endeavor of the Universe Cluster of Excellence, the LMU and the MPP.

The program is aimed at students aged 15 to 19 and is free of charge.

The “International Masterclasses” Program

The Munich-based event is part of the series entitled “International Masterclasses – hands-on Particle Physics”, which has been held annually since 2005. Between February 15 and March 28, 2018, more than 13,000 students from 50 countries will take part in these research days.

The masterclasses are organized by 210 research institutions that have teamed up to form the International Particle Physics Outreach Group (IPPOG).

Credit: B. Wankerl / MPP

Technische Universitaet Muenchen
Exzellenzcluster Universe

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