Lincoln Park HS students mark Particle Accelerator Day
Students from Chicago's Lincoln Park High School got a close-up look of Fermilab at work during activities marking Particle Accelerator Day in Illinois.
Fermilab celebrated the second annual Illinois Particle Accelerator Day by demystifying particle physics for a group of juniors and seniors from Chicago's Lincoln Park High School on Monday, April 23. Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich had officially designated Saturday, April 21 to laud the ongoing efforts of Fermilab and Argonne National Laboratory in advancing important new technologies and scientific discoveries.
After touring the lab Monday afternoon, the 11th and 12 grade students enjoyed a detailed description of Fermilab's accelerator chain from Accelerator Division head Roger Dixon and colleague Gordon Koizumi. Though the students pronounced some physics jargon with trepidation, they were full of questions: Does a vacuum have temperature? Are neutrinos related to dark matter? When the LHC is up and running, is Fermilab hoping to be a sister lab?
Dixon and Koizumi used some personal anecdotes to make the science accessible, with Dixon describing an experiment he had tried as a young Fermilab physicist. He wanted to test the power of an accelerated beam, so while the accelerator was turned off, into the path the beam would take and placed a microphone nearby. Then he turned on the machine. "I heard the sound of two freight trains smashing together," he said with a smile.
Lincoln Park student Huanping Chen, 18, appreciated the close-up view of particle physics at work. "So far, I've been learning about how things work," he said. "I enjoyed learning about how a particle fits into the universe."
-- Kate Raiford