Winners of the 2024 CERN Beamline for Schools competition: Sakura Particles” from Japan (left), “Mavericks” from Estonia (top right) and “SPEEDers” from the USA (bottom right) “(Images: Sakura Particles, Mavericks, SPEEDers)

A team of Andover High School students was one of three winners in an international physics competition that saw more than 460 entries from 78 countries.

The team “SPEEDers” from Andover High School will join teams from Japan and Estonia in Germany to conduct their winning experiment at the beam line of a particle accelerator. The three teams were chosen based on the scientific merit of their proposal and a video submitted as part of the contest.

BL4S started in 2014 in the context of CERN’s 60th anniversary. Over the past 10 years, more than 20 000 pupils from all over the world have taken part in the competition, and 25 teams have been selected as winners. The participation rate has been rising consistently over the years, with a record 461 teams from 78 countries submitting an experiment proposal in 2024. 

“Mavericks”, a team from the Secondary School of Sciences in Tallinn and the Hugo Treffner Gymnasium in Tartu, Estonia, and the team “Sakura Particles”, which brings together pupils from Kawawa Senior High School in Kanagawa, Joshigakuin Senior High School and Junten High School in Tokyo, Kawagoe Girls High School in Saitama and Kitano High School in Osaka, Japan, will travel to CERN in September 2024 to perform the experiments that they proposed. The team “SPEEDers” from Andover High School in Andover, USA, will carry out their experiment at a DESY beamline.

“We focus on beam diagnostics: our aim is to measure and analyse the Smith-Purcell (SP) radiation emitted by different diffraction gratings when DESY’s electron or positron beams pass by,” says Niranjan Nair from the Andover “SPEEDers” team. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to not just watch scientific advancement passively, but actively contribute to it at DESY: the ultimate goal of our experiment is to research SP radiation as a tool for beam diagnostics.”

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