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Varvakios Pilot School from Athens wins CERN first beam line for schools competition

Friday, 06 June 2014

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) announced today the winners of its first beam line for schools competition. Following almost 300 submissions from school groups around the world, two teams have been selected to come to CERN to carry out their own experiments at a CERN beam line. The winners are the “Odysseus' Comrades” team from Varvakios Pilot School in Athens, Greece and the “Dominicuscollege” team from Dominicus College in Nijmegen, the Netherlands.

To coincide with CERN’s 60th anniversary this year, the laboratory launched the beam line for schools competition. The idea is to make a fully equipped beam line available for high-school students to run an experiment in the same way that the laboratory’s researchers do.

In proposals of fewer than 1000 words, teams had to explain why they wanted to come to CERN, what they hoped to take away from the experience and give initial thoughts on how they would use the particle beam for their experiment. They also had to summarize their written proposal in a creative and entertaining video.

Odysseus’ Comrades are a team of 12. Their proposal is to look at the decay of charged pions (particles containing a quark and an antiquark) to investigate the weak force, one of the four fundamental forces of nature.

/"At first it was very hard to find an experiment to propose for the competition. But if there is an obstacle, it is always a good start to look at history. So we studied the history of CERN, and that//lead us to the proposal of studying a peculiar property of weak force,"/ said Andreas Valadakis, teacher of the Greek team.

CERN scientists are now discussing the scientific and technical details with the two winning teams to prepare the setup of their experiments, which will be carried out in September.

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