CERN — the European Organization for Nuclear Research

Colliding Particles - Episode 4: Problems





Mike Paterson



To illustrate to students ages 15+ how science develops through discussion, collaboration and completion of works, and to illustrate the relationship between experiment and theory in science.


"Problems" is the fourth film of the series ‘Colliding Particles." 'Problems' travels to Paris for a look at some of the theoretical work behind the 'Eurostar' paper. Gavin and his PhD student Mathieu explore the mathematics behind the behaviour of fundamental particles, and we have an update on the 'incident' which is holding up work at the LHC.
Film Duration: 7 min 35 sec
See film here:
Topics Covered in this Film:

  • What Science Does - Gavin talks about science:describe, predict, explain quantitative rather than qualitative
  • Selecting the Problem - Gavin: it’s often harder selecting the problem than solving it.
  • Frustration - Gavin and Mathieu at work; Mathieu describes the frustrations of research.
  • Pressing On - Collaborator or individualist? Persistence in solving problems.
  • LHC Predictions - Gavin explains that ‘jets’ are a simplification, needed to explain observations from LHC.
  • The LHC Goes Down - Official talk about the engineering breakdown at LHC.Jon and Adam tell it like it is.
  • Music of the Universe - Gavin explains the parallel between hearing music and understanding the fundamental structure of the universe.

(See teacher's guide for this episode for exact timings of these topics within the video:
About the series:
The full series follows just one of the teams of physicists involved in the research at the LHC.
The project documents their work at the frontiers of particle physics, exploring the human stories behind the research and investigating the workings of the scientific process itself. It is designed to support the ‘How Science Works’ element of key stage 4 of the English national curriculum. The films have been made to illustrate aspects of the way in which science develops. They show scientists discussing their work, how they collaborate and compete, and the relationship between experiment and theory in science.
Although the idea of the Standard Model of particle physics and the existence of the Higgs particle are unlikely to be part of the formal curriculum for most students, these films can still be used when you wish to discuss aspects of HSW and to stimulate interest in the process of scientific discovery. Because the scientists are describing an on-going process of discovery, the films have a natural ‘story’ thread running through them.

Post date: Mon, Feb 07, 2011 — 12:05
Updated date: Tue, Nov 20, 2012 — 04:26

Learning Topics

Process of Discovery