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CERN announces winners of 2017 Beamline for Schools competition

07 August 2017

Two teams of students have been selected to travel to CERN in September to carry out their own experiments using a CERN accelerator beam.

3D cut of the LHC dipole (Credit: Dominguez, Daniel, 2014-2017 CERN)

The CERN 2017 Beamline for Schools (BL4S) competition is supported by National Instruments. Two teams of high-school students, “Charging Cavaliers” from Canada and “TCO-ASA” from Italy, have been selected to travel to CERN in September to carry out their own experiments using a CERN accelerator beam. The winners beat off competition from 180 other schools in 43 countries. 

The Beamline for Schools (BL4S) competition gives high-school students the chance to run an experiment on a fully equipped CERN beamline, in exactly the same way that full-time researchers do at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider. In order to win this prestigious competition, students had to submit a written proposal and video explaining why they wanted to go to CERN and what they hoped to take away from the experience. They also had to describe their first thoughts of how they would use the particle beam for their experiment. The proposals were evaluated; based on their creativity, motivation, feasibility and scientific method. NI, as a contributor of the BL4S project supported the student teams with donated copies of the LabVIEW Student Edition and engineering development hours with a LabVIEW Expert. 

This contribution to the BL4S competition is a key part of NI’s cooperation with CERN, NI provides CERN’s IdeaSquare (Ideas) facility with a long term loan of Academic tools and technologies. IdeaSquare (Ideas) is a dedicated test facility at CERN which hosts detector R&D projects and MSc student programmes, offering an ad-hoc meeting space and rapid prototyping facilities for innovation-related projects.

NI supports Ideas as it works to bring students and researchers together in order to generate new ideas and work on conceptual prototypes in an open environment. NI has provided control and instrumentation equipment that includes: 

• x10 myRIO 
• x10 Analogue Discovery 2
• x12 CompactRIO
• x2 VirtualBench

Additionally, NI will also be running hands-on workshops for students, CERN scientific researchers and visiting universities delegates. “CERN and NI have been collaborating for a long time, and we are very pleased to involve NI in our MSC student programmes here at IdeaSquare, contributing to the training of next-generation scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs,” says Dr Markus Nordberg, Head of Development & Innovation at Ideas. 

Watch team 'Charging Cavaliers' video  

Watch team 'TCO-ASA' video 

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