Virtual visit of the Portuguese students to CERN

On February 25th students from 5 Portuguese schools took part, by videoconference, in a virtual tour to the CMS (Compact Muon Solenoid) experiment built on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN. 

It was the first time that this initiative took place in Portugal and it was promoted by the project Open Discovery Space (ODS) and organized by NUCLIO. It also broke the record of the number of students that participated in a single virtual visit to the CMS! 

The 553 students and all the teachers that also took part were from Escola Secundária de Penafiel, Escola Secundária Ferreira Dias, Escola Secundária José Saramago-Mafra, Agrupamento de Escolas Dra Laura Ayres and Escola Secundária Adolfo Portela. 

Live from CERN, the Portuguese scientists Pedro da Silva, André David Mendes and José Carlos Silva, and also counting with the logistical and technical support of Angelos Alexopoulos, Noemi Beni e Zoltan Zsillasi, led the students from the CMS control room to the 100m underground detector explaining step by step its functioning and features as well as answering the curious questions asked by the students.

“For the Physics students, CERN is the epicenter of knowledge. I loved the fact that we have established contact with the scientists and the way they conducted the tour and showed us the detector and its technologies was really cool. Besides, doing it live was extraordinary” said André Queirós, a student from Escola Secundária de Penafiel.

  “This virtual tour definitively made me want to learn more about CERN. The fact that the scientists used such a simple language helped us to understand the experiment and surely caught our attention a lot more” said Ana Catarina Moreira, from the same school as André.

 Álvaro Folhas, Physics and Chemistry teacher from Escola Secundária Adolfo Portela mentioned: “We must take advantage of nowadays technology, and give the schools the opportunity of reaching higher, providing moments that the students will never forget and showing them paths they can take. Such was the students’ enthusiasm that it definitively paid off all the effort that was taken to make this initiative come alive.”

 The CMS detector has a wide-range Physics program, from the study of the Standard Model (including the Higgs Boson) to the search of extra dimensions particles that could form the dark matter.

 Our thanks to the teachers, students and headmasters that took part and also to everyone that made this initiative possible to happen.