Women scientists inspiring young girls


Expanding Your Horizon 2019
Several girls in action at the CERN stand
(Image: CERN)

On 16 November, 25 women working at CERN contributed to the sixth bi-annual “Expanding your Horizons (EYH) – Geneva” event, which took place at the main building (UniMail) of the University of Geneva. The EYH Geneva organization is part of the EYH network, which is dedicated to promote gateway science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) amongst young girls to spark interest in STEM activities and careers.

This free one-day event was attended by 450 girls aged between 11 and 14 years living in Geneva and the surrounding area. The girls could register for two out of twenty-five offered 75-minute workshops in different domains: biology, chemistry, computing, engineering, geology, mathematics, natural science, physics and technology. In between the workshops, the girls enjoyed the Discovery Fair, a group of stands with interactive activities and science related attractions.

A dynamic interdisciplinary group of 25 women from CERN designed and ran two of the proposed workshops and organised a sixty-square-metre stand at the Discovery Fair. The volunteers brought plenty of enthusiasm and supporting material to answer questions and stimulate the girls’ curiosity.

In the first workshop, which was offered in two rooms in parallel for a total of six sessions, about sixty girls built their very own particle detector, a cloud chamber, from scratch, compared their observations with data taken with a state-of-the-art particle detector (MediPix) and discussed the Standard Model with the support of the custom-made different badges representing the particle zoo. The second workshop was created specifically for this EYH Geneva event edition: about thirty girls discovered what goes on behind the scenes of a website and were exposed to HTML, CSS and Javascript as they designed their own Particle Accelerator control panel.

At the CERN stand, the teenagers could embark on a VR (virtual reality) visit to the CERN data centre, decorate proton cookies with sweets representing up and down quarks and icing as gluons, touch and play with a Beam Position Monitor (BPM), observe the signal of cosmic muons passing through a beam loss monitor tube (BLM), control an LHC beam up to collisions using a video game developed by CERN’s Beam Instrumentation group, explore CERN’s particle accelerator complex through high-resolution 360° panoramic photos on two independent work stations, discover the career of many scientists who worked at CERN via the Alumni platform, and take selfies to remember the day in front of an LHC dipole and the ATLAS muon wheel. There were a total of 270 VR tours and 400 decorated cookies.

The event was a great success and CERN’s contributions were, yet again, among the most appreciated by the young public. This would have not been possible without the support and help of the IR-ECO group, the MediPix team, the CERN-IT Department, the WIT steering committee, the BE-BI, the EN-ACE and the HR-TA groups, the ATLAS outreach team, and the Diversity Office.

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To learn more about the EYH Geneva visit: http://elargisteshorizons.ch and for some pictures, look at the CDS record.

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