PMSA students and staff attended a celebration at Fermilab with international scientists who sent the first beam of protons zooming around the world's most powerful particle accelerator.
Above: PMSA students Jennifer Das and Tim Hunter from Berkeley, Christian Herrera from Melrose Park, Quentis Perry, Broadview, Angela Skubal and Kirstie Songco from Westchester.
PMSA students represented one of five high schools invited to attend this event. The other student representatives were from Boston MA, Long Island NY, Rossville IN, and Aurora IL.
Fermilab, in Batavia, Illinois, is a National Accelerator Laboratory that advances the understanding of the fundamental nature of matter and energy. The zooming protons were a step toward figuring out unanswered questions about the universe. This event was more than 15 years in the making, and prompted celebrations at Fermilab, across the U.S., and around the world.
“It was so cool to join the celebration with all those scientists, and to have an opportunity to tour Fermilab,” said PMSA Senior Angela Skubal. “Everyone was really excited, and it definitely made us more interested in science and engineering.”
The experiment marked the first circulating beam of protons able to zoom at nearly light speed around the world's most powerful particle accelerator-the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), located at the CERN laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland.
According to Fermilab, the first circulating beam is a major accomplishment on the way to the ultimate goal: high-energy beams colliding in the centers of the LHC's particle detectors. Beyond revealing a new world of unknown particles, the LHC experiments could explain why those particles exist and behave as they do. They could reveal the origins of mass, shed light on dark matter, uncover hidden symmetries of the universe and possibly find extra dimensions of space.
“At first we didn’t know much about it [Fermilab and this scientific exploration],” said Kirstie Songco, another PMSA senior who attended the event. “This was a step toward figuring out the big bang theory, and how the world was started. So, it was really interesting.”
PMSA Principal Ed Moyer, Physics Teacher Tom Dix, and six PMSA seniors participated in the celebration. They joined about 400 other physicists, engineers, and other scientists in a live video-feed from the CERN laboratory in Geneva Switzerland.