Elementary Particle Physics

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Particle physicists for a day: international masterclass wrap-up

45 high school students rediscover the Z boson and more using data from the Large Hadron Collider


On 4 April 2019, the chair of elementary particle physics at LMU hosted its annual International Masterclasses in particle physics, giving high school students the opportunity to be particle physicists for a day. The students analysed real data from the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, as they took part in an international initiative running in 55 countries worldwide.

In a collaborative effort, 45 students from 13 high schools in and around Munich analysed particle collisions recorded by the ATLAS Experiment to rediscover the Z boson. This particle is one of the mediators of the weak interaction and was originally discovered at CERN in 1983. The students were able to find the Z boson, and other interesting particles, by identifying the signatures of their decay. They discussed these discoveries with fellow high school students from Germany, Norway, Poland and Serbia in a video conference hosted by two ATLAS physicists at CERN that concluded the International Masterclass.

International Masterclasses are organised globally each year by the International Particle Physics Outreach Group (IPPOG). IPPOG is an independent group of outreach representatives from countries, experiments and laboratories involved in the research particle physics. The group’s goal is to make particle physics more accessible to the public.

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(Photos: Sascha Mehlhase)