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Science Trip to CERN and Geneva

Our Science trip to CERN and Geneva started with an early flight at 7am on Monday 4th July.  The exhaustion was soon shaken off once we landed, with a speedy walk to the hostel to dump our luggage, and then time to wander around the beautiful, archaic streets of Geneva for lunch.  The town consists of a mixture of shiny modern skyscrapers, and old renaissance-style buildings with decadent balconies.  The picturesque town curves around lake Geneva, with a stunning backdrop of the Alps and Mount Blanc.  We got to fully soak in the  tourist sites whilst on a lake cruise, which took us right by the impressive fountain that is 140m high, pumping 500 litres of water a second!  After that, we leisurely strolled to the flower clock and then uphill to St. Pierre’s cathedral – a neo-gothic structure that’s over 850 years old.  We then headed back to the hostel after a tiring but amazing day in the 28 degree heat.

Tuesday was the day we had all been eagerly anticipating; the day we visited CERN.  After a briefing given by an Italian Physicist studying there, we were guided around the different procedures that the 27km long Hadron Collider carries out, and shown the actual Hadron Collider control room.  We were also shown the various structures of different parts of the LHC, which was fascinating as it gave us a deeper understanding of the extreme conditions in which it has to work to create collisions between particles.  The rest of the day was awe-filled, as we explored all aspects of CERN, from the ‘Universe of Particles’ to the ‘Microcosm’ exhibitions.

Wednesday was filled with more sight-seeing in Geneva.  This included a trip to the Jardin Botanique, which was a glorious botanic garden with a range of exotic plants. T he Red Cross Museum was a moving experience for all of us. It gave an overview of all the tragedies that the Red Cross had been involved in, and its mission for humanitarian peace and dignity.  The day concluded with an escapade to the flea market and a last opportunity to panic-buy souvenirs, before heading home.

Overall, the three days spent in Switzerland were both inspiring and incredible.  From the rich culture of Geneva, to the amazing scientific discoveries at CERN, the trip was varied and enormously  interesting. Thank you very much to Mr. Richardson, Mrs. Collins and Dr. Scopes for organising and taking us on such a memorable trip!

Sophie Green - Year 12