Pupils discovered more about the beginning of the universe during their trip to CERN in Geneva, home of the world’s largest particle accelerator. They enjoyed a tour around the exhibitions and a visit at the United Nations building, as well as exploring Geneva’s old town.

‘For a small group of Sixth Formers, the half term break commenced with a four-day trip to Geneva in Switzerland. On our first full day, we began with a visit to the Red Cross Museum where we were given audio guides and were able to walk around listening to the history of the Red Cross foundation. It was both an informative and emotional experience, fully immersing us in the turmoil that many had endured. Visitors could hear people’s stories of how the Red Cross had helped them through interactive holograms, followed by an interactive group game to save as many people as possible from a simulated disaster. It took some practise but ultimately, we were able to save all 120 people in the game.

Our next stop was the United Nations buildings – it was amazing to walk up to them knowing how many influential figures had walked the same path in the years prior to that. The tour took us through many of the various meeting rooms such as the Human Rights and Civilisations Room (donated by Spain), where the UN Human Rights Council meets. The most impressive rooms to visit, however, were the Assembly Hall and the marble corridor connecting the old Palais de Nations to the new UN building. This was home to the original League of Nations, linking all of our GCSE history to our current times.

On our second day, the visit to CERN started with the Synchrocyclotron, the first ever accelerator built at CERN in 1957 followed by a tour around the two exhibitions at CERN, ‘Microcosm’ and ‘Universe of physics’ which explained in more detail how particle accelerators work, and how particle physics increases our understanding of the universe. It was an absolutely amazing experience being at CERN, as being surrounded by so much ground-breaking engineering and physics was really inspiring.

On our final day we visited the science History Museum where scientific progress in various subjects such as astronomy, microscopy, meteorology and electricity are documented. The museum is located in the Villa Bartholoni overlooking Geneva lake with a beautiful view of Mont Blanc; we had a chance to view this further from the second floor of the museum through one of the first telescopes. With artefacts dating back between the 17th and 19th century, it was an opportunity to see how equipment has progressed and how much of it we still use today. Possibly the most intriguing thing was the display outside of the museum. Two people could stand 20 metres apart, facing opposite ways, and be able to whisper to each other via curved metal discs which would transfer the sound without a physical connection. Incredible!
Overall the trip was an experience not to be missed and we would like to thank Mr V for his effort in organising it.

Kessley, Sophia, Heather and Imogen