by Rainer Schicker. Published: 16 March 2012

Each year the International Particle Physics Outreah Group (IPPOG) organises a student Masterclass programme with high energy physics institutes. Kirchoff-Institute at Heidelberg University, Germany, an ALICE member, held their Masterclass in early March. The classes allow students of 17 – 18 in age to visit a research institute and to analyse real physics data. Contributing institutes then connect with each other via videoconference, allowing the students to discuss their results, methods, and experience. The aim of the classes is to encourage enthusiasm for and increase knowledge of high energy physics in potential young scientists.

Rainer Schicker, of the Physikalisches Institute, Heidelberg, summarises their Masterclass:

Rainer Schicker

The Masterclass Students Heidelberg University

The Heidelberg ALICE Masterclass took place on March 6th at the Kirchhoff-Institute. About 30 students participated in this Masterclass, in which the main theme was the creation of the universe. The programme started in the morning with an overview of astrophysical measurements of cosmological significance, such as the Hubble constant, microwave background, and the rotational curves of galaxies. This introductory lecture was followed by a presentation of the ALICE experiment and its physics programme.

Rainer Schicker

Students during the tour of the lab

A tour of the Heidelberg ALICE laboratory introduced the students to experimental aspects of participating in high-energy physics experiments. An exhibition chamber of the ALICE Transition Radiation Detector system served to illustrate the many aspects of building modern detectors.

Rainer Schicker

Masterclass students during the analysis part of the day

The analysis session in the afternoon introduced the students to displaying and analysing ALICE data. The session was dedicated to the analysis of strangeness by finding Lambda', Anti-Lambdas and Xi-decays. The afternoon finished with a Videoconference with CERN where moderators asked for the analysis results and asked questions in a quiz. The participating students evaluated this Masterclass quite positively.

Rainer Schicker

Rainer Schicker presenting prizes for the quiz