The Big Bang regional event St. George’s Hall, Liverpool, June 26th, 2013


Graeme Burt and Adrian Hannah show some interested schoolchildren how an accelerator works.

The Cockcroft Institute staff have been demonstrating to the public how particle accelerators work at ‘The Big Bang’ science fair in Manchester on the 11th-13th March this year. The Cockcroft Institute staff created and manned a stand called ‘Particle Accelerators’ which demonstrated the major components of accelerators: electric and magnetic fields, charged particle beams and vacuum systems. The small 3×5 metre stand was packed full of interesting demonstrations such as steering electron beams using electric and magnetic fields in a fine beam tube, a magnetic accelerator which accelerates an iron rod to 60 mph in only 5 centimetres, and a huge array of vacuum experiments in a bell jar, including demonstrating the triple point of water, where water freezes and boils at the same time. Also the stand included a pair of the EMMA quadropole magnets and a 3D walkthrough of the ALICE accelerator at Daresbury Laboratories. There was a constant stream of interest from schoolchildren, teachers and the general public at the stand who were all eager to use some of the hands-on exhibits on display.

In addition at the Big Bang Adam Griffiths, came top 5 in the science and maths category of the British Science Association’s contest for Young Scientist and Young Engineer of the year for his work on modelling the ALICE photoinjector. Adam was a placement student at the Cockcroft Institute from St John Plessington Catholic School and has his own stand showing his poster “Modelling the ALICE photoinjector electron beam using G.P.T to enhance baseline parameters” funded from the Nuffield science bursary scheme.

“It was great to see how amazed some of the kids were at some of the things that accelerators can do and how they work” said Graeme Burt, Deputy Head of CI Education, Training and Outreach.