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West High Team First From U.S. to Win CERN Competition

A team of West High School students is one of only two international teams who won the 2019 Beamline for Schools competition, and West is the first team from the United States to win the competition. The other team is from the Praedinius Gymnasium in Groningen, Netherlands. In October, these teams will be invited to the DESY1 research centre in Hamburg, Germany, to carry out their proposed experiments together with scientists from CERN and DESY.

Beamline for Schools is a unique international competition that is open to high-school students all over the world. The students are invited to submit a proposal for an experiment that uses a beamline. Beamlines deliver a stream of subatomic particles to any given set-up, making it possible to study a broad variety of properties and processes in various scientific disciplines. They are operated at laboratories such as CERN and DESY.

Since Beamline for Schools was launched in 2014 almost 10,000 students from 84 countries have participated. This year, 178 teams from 49 countries worldwide submitted a proposal for the sixth edition of the competition.

The two winning teams of 2019 will look at fundamental differences between matter and antimatter. When electrons at high energies collide with a target, such as a piece of graphite, some of their energy gets transferred into photons. These photons can, in turn, transform into other particles. Eventually, a shower of particles at lower energy will develop. The team “Particle Peers” from the Praedinius Gymnasium, Groningen, Netherlands has proposed to compare the properties of the particle showers originating from electrons with those created from positrons, the antimatter partner of the electron.

The “DESY Chain” team from the West High School, Salt Lake City, USA, focuses on the properties of scintillators in its proposal. These are materials that are used for particle detection. The students aim to study the performance of these scintillators and compare their sensitivity to electrons and positrons. This may lead to more efficient particle detectors for a wide range of applications.

More information:
link to full press release

Video Proposal from West High:

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