Science and Technology Facilities Council
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Hundreds of A-level students to see the ‘real’ science from CERN

Two months before the release of Hollywood’s adaptation of Dan Brown’s best-selling science fiction novel ‘Angels and Demons’, hundreds of A-level students will get to see the ‘real’ science from CERN (the world’s largest particle physics laboratory, based in Geneva) where part of the movie was filmed.

The 16-18 year olds will come to the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s (STFC’s) Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) over the next three days (11th-13th March 2009) for the annual ‘Particle Physics Masterclass’. The sessions, designed to encourage more students to move into a career in science, involve students from as many as forty schools across the South East. Across the world, as many as six hundred schools take part in classes like these.

The sessions include interactive workshops, where students get to work with data simulated for the large particle collider experiments at CERN. Through this, they’ll get an insight into how experiments will work when the Large Hadron Collider (world’s most powerful particle accelerator) re-starts in September. There’ll also be lectures from physics experts and tours of some of the STFC’s key facilities including ISIS (the world-leading neutron and muon source) and Diamond (a giant synchrotron the size of five football pitches).

Dr Glenn Patrick of RAL’s Particle Physics Department said; "Particle physics is one of those inspiring areas which is known to attract school children into studying science at University and potentially into a scientific career. With these masterclasses, which we’re running here for the twelfth year, we provide an exciting overview of recent developments, such as the Large Hadron Collider, and provide the opportunity to see front-line research in action."


Notes to editors

Journalists wishing to report on the Masterclasses are welcome on site on Wednesday 11th March between 11.30am and 1.30pm but arrangements must be made in advance with the press office.

Images available:

Please contact the press office for more details.


Lucy Stone

Press Officer

STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory


Tel Number: 01235 445627


Further Information

The National Particle Physics Masterclass is a popular series of one day events for sixth form students and their teachers, run by practicing particle physics researchers at various institutes all over the country and co-ordinated through the Institute of Physics.

Science and Technology Facilities Council The Science and Technology Facilities Council ensures the UK retains its leading place on the world stage by delivering world-class science; accessing and hosting international facilities; developing innovative technologies; and increasing the socio-economic impact of its research through effective knowledge exchange partnerships.


The Council has a broad science portfolio including Astronomy, Particle Physics, Particle Astrophysics, Nuclear Physics, Space Science, Synchrotron Radiation, Neutron Sources and High Power Lasers. In addition the Council manages and operates three internationally renowned laboratories:

- The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire

- The Daresbury Laboratory, Cheshire

- The UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Edinburgh The Council gives researchers access to world-class facilities and funds the UK membership of international bodies such as the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), the Institute Laue Langevin (ILL), European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), the European organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO) and the European Space Agency (ESA). It also contributes money for the UK telescopes overseas on La Palma, Hawaii, Australia and in Chile, and the MERLIN/VLBI National Facility, which includes the Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory.

The Council distributes public money from the Government to support scientific research. Between 2008 and 2009 we will invest approximately £787 million.



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