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Stuttgart HS students visit the CERN Hadron Collider

George Murphy, SHS Student
STUTTGART | February 9, 2017

Stuttgart High School students and teachers pose at the CERN Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland.
Stuttgart High School students and teachers pose at the CERN Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland.

GENEVA — The Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN, or European Organization for Nuclear Research) opened its doors for Stuttgart High School advanced placement physics II and chemistry students to see the Hadron Collider, Jan. 25.

CERN designed a high school field trip for the sole purpose of furthering the reach and motivation of students, to invigorate them to strive for further advancements in their future fields. SHS students were given a tour of the facility and told about the various moving parts that kept this experiment moving like a well-oiled machine.

The Hadron Collider is “the most important science experiment on the planet during this very moment,” said Brad Rehwaldt, SHS physics instructor.  

It gives students a chance to look at advanced physics and science at work, and inspires them to better themselves to better their knowledge of their world, Rehwaldt said.

The SHS students studied the experiment of recreating the sciences involved with the Big Bang, or something akin to it, at the least. Through this, new knowledge is gained from the observation of the particles, figuring out their functions and what they are to science, and exploring the fundamental ideas caused by these scientific anomalies to their finest point.

In the double-level complex near Geneva, Switzerland, the above-ground level consists of a quiet office building where matters relating to the collider are discussed and expanded upon. The underground portion of the project is where the particle collider is located, whirring in a cavernous tunnel beneath the main building.

The easiest ways to describe it is the collider bunches hundreds of billions of particles together and smashes them together with the force of two eighteen-wheel semi-trucks colliding at more than 99 percent of the speed of light. Scientists observe the results and, hopefully, advance our understanding of the universe and billions of particles within our complex world.

There was one obstacle that scared the students who were looking forward to seeing the famed Hadron Collider – the elevator.  It was broken when SHS students arrived after an early morning, six-hour commute. The problem was resolved, but not without a bit of angst in response to the irony of a broken elevator in one of the most prestigious scientific and technological sites in the world.


The Compact Muon Solenoid at CERN is used for investigating the Higgs Boson, extra dimensions and particles that could be dark matter. Advance placement students from Stuttgart High School visited the facility in Switzerland, Jan. 25.

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