by Lucile Hervet . Published: 20 March 2013

For the third consecutive year, the apprentice researchers will have a lot on their plate… discover the objects contained in the box. The principle? Teachers and their pupils have to discover what is in the box in the same way as a researcher would do. They have to make assumptions and perform various experiments “We tried to discover the object inside the box using a magnet and smelling different smells. Unfortunately we still don’t know what it is.” confess the teacher of the primary school of Versoix. The project is also an opportunity for kids to learn more about CERN and the job of a researcher. On 1 March, popeyed, pupils from the primary school of Versoix crossed for the first time the entrance of the ALICE experiment. During two hours they will have the opportunity to visit the experiment and to ask to a real physicist all the questions they had previously prepared with their teacher. The control room, full of twenty apprentice researchers, fuels their curiosity.

“Why are there so many computer screens?”

Nicolas Arbor and Giacinto De Cataldo, physicists at the ALICE experiment had the difficult task to explain the why and how. “The difficulty is to have a simple language to explain something complicated” says Nicolas Arbor. PhD student from Grenoble,Nicolas explains why he is participating in this project “I discovered this project last year. We are not accustomed to talking to a young audience that’s why I thought this project was really interesting. In front of pupils aged nine or ten we have to try to use a language as simple as possible. Moreover kids are a real source of wonder and always ask good questions”

It is with great interest that pupils spent time in the exhibition. During the tour, one stall had particularly drawn their attention, the Cosmophone.

While the sun shows its face, in the control room, it’s time for the kids to ask the questions they have prepared to Nicolas and Giancinto. What is the aim of the physicist? Do you like your job? Is it frustrating to look for something that may not exist?

Two hours after their entry, it is time for pupils to go back home. They are certainly hasty to tell what they saw and learnt on that day. The following days, 4 and 5 March, two other class from the Grand Saconnex and Onex visited ALICE experiment. They also had the opportunity to discover the work of a physicist.