by IPPOG Communication Team
Special Particle Physics Masterclasses for CERN Personnel
It all started with a lunch on a warm late summer morning at CERN. The team of Women in Technology (WIT) invited Fabiola Cacciatore, IPPOG Communication Officer, to be part of one of the lunches that this group organises once a week. Between discussions, a special idea came up: why not join forces and create an IPPOG event dedicated to CERN personnel. But how? For what audience?
After a couple of days, Fabiola introduced a proposal: a masterclass for non-scientific CERN personnel. Deal accepted!
The IPPOG communication office took care of booking the room, laptops, finding moderators and promoting the event with the support of the WIT community.
Only ten days after publicising of the event all 40 available seats had been booked.
We have received many requests from supervisors asking for their new intern/admin students to participate in the masterclass to understand how data collection at CERN works.
Fabiola Cacciatore IPPOG Communication Officer
The event took place on October 26th in the ALICE conference room 160-1/009. Pedro Abreu (IPPOG chair), Steven Goldfarb (IPPOG chair), Despina Hatzifotiadou (ALICE Experiment) and Kate Whalen (WIT) moderated the first edition of this special masterclass. The type of masterclass chosen for this occasion was: ATLAS Z-Path which gives students the opportunity to search for Z boson (and other particles) in real ATLAS data.
The challenge for the moderators was not easy. In fact, a masterclass usually takes place over a whole day. A typical International Masterclass day involves lectures from active scientists giving insight into current topics and methods of basic research of the fundamental components of matter and their interactions. It then enables students to perform measurements on real data collected from current experiments. At the end of each day, as in an international research collaboration, the participants join in a video conference for discussion and combination of their results.
This time our moderators only had half a day. Despite the short time, the masterclass ended on time and was successfully completed.
What is the purpose of this masterclass dedicated to CERN personnel without a scientific background?
Fabiola - This masterclass is an opportunity for those who work at CERN to live the experience of research and discovery by putting their hands on particle physics and learn the work of physicists and scientists.
Who exactly is it for?
It could be an optional training for newcomers to CERN who do not have a scientific background, or have little, which allows them to better understand what happens in the experiments and, undoubtedly, acquire knowledge useful for carrying out their work (example: communication, social media, human resources etc ...)
How did the idea come about?
Fabiola - The idea was born almost by chance, speaking with Erica Brondolin (CERN), one of the representatives of WIT. We thought that doing something for the people who work at CERN, but who do not “speak the language of particle physics” would be useful. We wanted something that would help them understand the data collection process. First of all for their personal culture, and then because among the CERN workers there are many disseminators and communicators who would like to expand their knowledge in order to better tell, in their work, the activities of CERN and particles physics.
The masterclass was also attended by high school teachers and other curious professionals who attended to be able to experience the event firsthand before bringing it to the students of their countries.
At the end of the day, participants were asked to leave feedback. This allows IPPOG to collect useful input and advice to improve the event. Everyone agreed that the topic was complicated, but fortunately the quality of the explanation was excellent and very helpful.
Could this be the beginning of a new era of masterclasses in collaboration with CERN? Let’s see, IPPOGers really hope so!
IPPOG would like to thank all the moderators and participants. It was a valuable experience for everyone.
Below some comments by the participants:
"It was a very good idea. It would be very nice to have more events like this. Maybe details about experiments/accelerators"
"I've already spoken with colleagues about this great initiative. Some are interested in attending it! Please organise other sessions."
"Cette Masterclass était tout simplement géniale, merci pour la grande pédagogie des intervenants ! "
"Very nice arrangement, applause to the presenters. Would love to see more of it, more classes possibly dedicated to a theme or specific areas."
"I want to thank everyone who was part of making this event happens, the speakers and moderators were extremely well-spoken and entertaining while being clear and educative!"