In February 15 OIC students headed to Geneva to visit CERN, here one student reflects on his experience.
“The CERN trip was delightful and memorable. Over the span of 4 days, we visited CERN, the United Nations office in Geneva and several museums. The short stay was enriching and definitely broadened my horizons.
CERN is an international nuclear research centre located in Geneva near the border of Switzerland and France. It houses the Large Hadron Collider, which is a circular particle accelerator (synchrotron) with a diameter of 27 km, along with other facilities to help physicists better understand what makes up everything around us. We visited 2 museums at CERN, one of the particle accelerators on site, as well as SMAT, a research lab for testing the components used for the particle accelerator; these are essentially the tubes used to accelerate and steer proton beams for collisions. We also had a tour in ATLAS.
I was intrigued by advanced technologies used to conduct the study of subatomic particle within CERN. Dipole magnets used to change the polarity of electric plates to accelerate protons, quadrupole magnets used to focus the proton beam for successful collisions, superconductors which can conduct current at a magnitude of ten thousand Ampere, liquid helium at 3 Kelvin which cools magnets and allow superconductivity… It was really exciting to be able to see and understand the operation of the world’s most complicated structure ever engineered. The day ended with satisfactory and joy.
Another notable memory was visiting the United Nations office. It is the second-largest of the four major office sites of the United Nations and we visited the Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room, the Assembly Hall and more. These rooms are used when major conferences take place or when the venue is booked for commemoration purposes. One such commemoration was that of Nelson Mandela, the former president of South Africa and influential human rights activist, who passed away in 2013. The guided tour also revealed different artefacts and constructions donated by many members of the United Nations.
As well as visiting the particle accelerator and the United Nations office, we went sightseeing and visited museums. This included the United Nations Office, Alp Salt Mine, the International Museum of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the Natural History Museum and the History of Science Museum. This trip has definitely broadened my horizons. The beautiful scenery of the Alps near the salt mine was breath-taking. Centuries-old scientific instruments used by physicist, chemists and biologists at the History of Science Museum gave me a better view of progression of the scientific community around the world. Record and documentaries of voluntary work in international scale during the time of natural or manmade disasters showed me how people from different parts of the world united to help those in need. The United Nations Office is where votes and conferences regarding humanitarian incidents take place. The conference rooms were spacious and well designed by different countries.
The trip was very rewarding. I would like to give my sincere gratitude to OIC for making this trip possible and for its support. I am glad that I grasped the once-in-a lifetime opportunity and made good use of my enrichment week.”
For more information about CERN: Click here.