Last Monday, 14th of March, I attended the International Particle Physics Masterclass in UCD with Chloe. Chloe is the fab bean shown in this collage that I just want to drag out again because I spent so long on it.
The day was a comedy of disasters, I must admit. I got the bus at 7 am, having woken at 5.50 am, then discovered an hour later that I was on the wrong bus, then had to get another bus to UCD, then got lost in UCD for an hour looking for the building and was late for the event, then in the evening spent another hour (with Chloe this time) looking for the bus stop to go back to Drogheda, then eventually missed my stop on that bus, then my iPad died (because the charger was breaking so it only charged up to 34% all night) and I couldn't contact anyone so I had to walk the length of Drogheda looking for somewhere to charge it and get a lift home. Phew.
The actual Particle Physics was cool, and it was awesome getting to see Chloe. The day started with an introduction to the particle zoo and to particle accelerators and detectors. We were then given our task: each group of two would be given 100 real samples from CMS detectors at CERN, and from the evidence there we had to work backwards and figure out what bosons were involved (Z, W or Higgs).
The work was very frustrating and monotonous, admittedly, but we definitely learned a lot and it was really cool when we found a Higgs. I also loved when all the results were added up at the end and we could analyse them and compare them to the theory (stuff like - would you expect more positive W bosons or negative W bosons? The answer's not as simple as it seems). It was cool.
Ronan and Tara asked for two volunteers to present our results in the videoconference to CERN so I and one guy did it. It was pretty fun, though nervewracking.
Have this pretty picture of the road beside UCD.