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Tracking Particles in South Asia

Feb 6, 2015


On 18 and 19 December 2014, students from Nepal and India took part in a Masterclass organized by CERN physicists. The event included a joint virtual visit to ATLAS and analysis of Large Hadron Collider (LHC) data recorded by the ATLAS detector. The Masterclass was organised as a part of Physics Without Frontiers, an International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) programme, in partnership with CERN. Events such as these introduce students to the nature of fundamental research and encourage them to consider science-based academic careers. Physics Without Frontiers events have previously been conducted in Palestine, Algeria, and Vietnam.

Images: Space Ventures and Physics Without Frontiers
Text: Abha Eli Phoboo

Ravjeet Kour introduces the students from 16 high schools in Jalandhar, Punjab, to CERN and particle physics. Kour, a participant of CERN’s High School Teacher Training 2014, worked with CMS physicists Suman Beri, Ashok Kumar and Ashutosh Bhardwaj to organise the Masterclass. "It was exciting to see how interested the students were in learning about particle physics," said Kour.


Faculty and students from Kathmandu University and Tribhuvan University discuss the production of particles in high-energy collisions during a Q&A session following a lecture given by ATLAS physicists Suyog Shrestha (pictured), Kate Shaw, and Joerg Stelzer on the Standard Model, high energy collisions, detecting particles, and reconstructing physics events.

Students in India analysing LHC’s data collected by ATLAS to look for W+ and W- bosons. "What we learned today was so different from what and how we learn science in school," said a student. Students were asked to give preferably anonymous feedback about the Masterclass.

Students in Nepal also analyse the data delivered by the Large Hadron Collider and recorded by the ATLAS detector. "To be able to learn about particle physics from scientists who work on the experiments and analyse real data from the LHC, it is incredible," said a participating student.


"The chance to learn about particle physics, about new concepts and theories, was such a great experience," wrote students when asked for feedback from the project in India.

Many of the students in Nepal said they wanted to pursue physics further. Quite a few of them asked if workshops like the Masterclass could be organized for a week, allowing them an opportunity for more intensive studies.

(top) ATLAS physicists Barbara Alvarez Gonzalez and Steven Goldfarb host a virtual visit of the ATLAS Control Room from CERN, Geneva. Students from India (bottom left) and Nepal listen before discussing the ratio of the W+ and W- from their data analysis session.

At the end of the Masterclass, Prof. Deepak Subedi, gives ATLAS physicists (from left) Kate Shaw, Suyog Shrestha, and Joerg Stelzer a tour of Kathmandu University’s Plasma Physics Laboratory.

Group photo of the Masterclass participants in India. "To participate in events that encourage young minds toward science is always a pleasure," says CMS physicist Suman Beri.

Group photo of the Masterclass participants in Nepal. "Scientific research for economic, social, and sustainable development is clear. Scientists must be able to conduct research in their own country, but science is collaborative by nature and international support is vital," says ATLAS physicist Kate Shaw.

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