by Fabiola Cacciatore
24th IPPOG Autumn Collaboration Meeting at CERN
“Everything happens, but we don’t know why”
The aim of the International Particle Physics Outreach Group (IPPOG) is to inspire the young generations to pursue a career in STEM, especially particle physics. IPPOG does it engaging students in classrooms, laboratories, experimental halls, music festivals, art exhibitions, office buildings and government offices across the planet. The goal is also to explain the fundament role of this branch of the science to the scientific community itself, made up not only of theorists, technicians and scientists, but also of those who are probably the first contact point to science for new generations: teachers and educators. That's why, among the core collaborators there were high-school teachers from different countries who expressed their fundamental points of view during the 24th IPPOG meeting held at CERN on 26-27-28 October 2022.
First day: 26 October 2022
The meeting started with an extraordinary event held during the morning: a special particle physics masterclass for non-scientific CERN personnel. An event organised in collaboration with Women in Technology (WIT) that has been particularly successful within the CERN community and which IPPOG hopes will be the pilot of numerous other events like this.
In the afternoon, the International Masterclass Steering Group reported the activities and the plans for the future. The next edition of the International Masterclass Program will be announced in few days.
Second day: 27 October 2022
The second day was particularly interesting as there were numerous success stories from brilliant science communicators, scientists, teachers, and even artists.
The co-chairs Pedro Abreu and Steven Goldfarb officially opened the meeting by welcoming the new representatives: Jackie Bondell for Australia, Christine Kourkoumelis for Greece, Paul Gravila for Romania, Jesús Puerta-Pelayo for Spain.
Also, the core collaboration presented the following reports: the resource database report by Barbora Bruant Gulejova, the communication report by Fabiola Cacciatore, the Masterclass Steering Group report by Kenneth Cecire and Uta Bilow, and the Global Cosmics Steering Group report by Carolin Schwerdt and Sabine Hemmer.
Let's find out who were the numerous guests of this edition:
- Yiota Foka (GSI) presented the CERN TIF EXPO (CERN exhibition for the International Fair of Thessaloniki, Greece, September 10 – 18, 2022) . Yiota has been an integral part of IPPOG for years. She is involved in the Working Groups and she is in charge of the Particle Therapy MasterClass.
- Margherita Boselli (CERN) and Sascha Schmeling (CERN) presented the announcement of the Beamline for Schools Competition
- Guillaume Durey (CERN) presented the CERN-Solvay Educational Program. Finally, CERN landed on TikTok with interesting explanatory videos.
- Hannes Nitschew reported the TU Dresden Masterclass on Nuclear Astrophysics. These kinds of masterclasses are a one-day course for pupils and students given by experts in the specific field. They represent a new frontier carry out by science in order to create interest in Nuclear Astrophysics.
- Letizia Diamante presented "Your Adventure at CERN" and some material for teachers. Letizia is a physicist, but she' s also a writer and creator of fabulous projects for youngest kids. Her contributions will be available soon on the IPPOG website. Read the interview to the author.
- Simone Ragoni (Creighton University) is the author of the book “Become a particle physicist in 8 simple moves”. A book for youngsters who want to become particle physicists. The book is available on Simone’s website and soon on Amazon (English and Italian).
- Ian Andrews presented The sketchbook and Collider project in collaboration with Prof. Nikolopoulos. His presentation was exciting and interesting. Combining art with the world of particle physics is a courageous project, but which, in this case, has led to fabulous results.
- Kirill Skovpen particle physicist (Ghent University) presented the App Higgsy. A cool game available for IOS software dedicated to the CMS detector and that will make you discover the particle physics while having fun.
- Christine Kourkoumelis (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens) presented the REINFORCE project. The REINFORCE project (Research Infrastructures FOR Citizens in Europe) aims at engaging and supporting citizens to cooperate with researchers and actively contribute to the development of new knowledge for the needs of science and society.
- Barbora Bruant Gulejova (Universitaet Bern) introduced the The 4S+ Project. The aim of the project is to inspire generations of youths by innovations and applied R&D from science-industry.
- Steven Goldfarb (IPPOG chair) reported the MISK Special Masterclasses held at IdeaSquare during spring 2022. For the very first time IPPOG managed to do masterclasses with an unusual audience made by professionals from different work fields.
- Vojtech Pleskot (Charles University) presented The Big Bang Stage 2022. A wonderful and very fascinating event hosted by Science and Technology Center Ostrava.
- Lila Mabiala (CERN), Sofia Caterina Hurst (CERN) introduced the second edition of Sparks! which will be held at CERN on 18-19 November 2022. This year IPPOG supports Sparks! working behind the scenes.
- Kenneth Cecire (University of Notre Dame (US)) and Spencer Pasero (Fermilab) presented QuarkNet - Activities and Coding showing the new Cosmic Ray Activities.
- Sarah Zochling (CERN) explained the Digital Learning Module about Positron Emission Tomography. Digital learning modules are a new, virtual, and versatile format for classroom and distance learning full of interactive elements.
- Simona Kriva (CERN) made a very engaging presentation about the activities carried on by Women in Technology (WIT). WIT is IPPOG's partner for the Special Masterclass for non-scientific CERN personnel.
- Yash Gurbani (IAPS) presented the Report from IAPS (International Association of Physics Students) which supports the physics students around the word building international bridges and encouraging peaceful international collaborations.
- Miki Ohtsuka is a high-school physics teacher in Japan. She presented the "Fun-Q" muography project.
- Anja Kranjc Horvat (CERN) presented the Particle Physics in High School Curricula followed by an exhibition that will normally be held with students in the future Science Gateway at CERN. Although it was an adult audience consisting mostly of experts in the field, the performance was engaging and will certainly be very successful among the audience made up of students of various ages.
These people, from all over the world, are enriching the particle physics outreach with wonderful projects and events. If you have an ongoing project or if you wish to present a project dedicated to physics outreach during the next IPPOG meeting, do not hesitate to contact us.
Science is special. I remember that when I came to CERN last time, I had the opportunity to meet teachers from countries that live in contrast with each other and that outside from here could never meet. Thanks to science and CERN, which organises events for teachers, it was possible for them to talk about science in a safe place. This is wonderful!
Miki Ohtsuka (particle physics teacher in Japan)
Third day: 28 October 2022
During the morning a panel discussion was held with 4 guests: Daniel Schulte (CERN), Linda Cremonesi (Queen Mary University of London), Matthew Philip McCullough (CERN), Naomi Zahira Dinmore (CERN).
Matthew McCullough is a theoretical physicist who has literally fascinated everyone in the room, thanks to the theory according to which even the Higgs Bosons are characterised by extra interactions.
We are only at the beginning of the journey…
Linda Cremonesi is experimental particle physicist at Queen Mary University of London who showed the various outreach activities carried out by DUNE (the international experiment that aims at making ground-breaking discoveries relating to the origin of matter).
Naomi Zahira Dinmore (editorial content developer at CERN) presented: How to Build a Hadron Collider: Lessons from the Past. She is working on a new format: a podcast dedicated to interviews with key players throughout hadron collider history.
Following the Panel Discussion there has been the session dedicated to the IPPOG Working Groups reports.
- Explaining Particle Physics to Lay Audiences
- Outreach of Applications for Society
- Exhibitions and Public Events
- International Masterclasses to New Countries
- Resource Database
- Diversity, Inclusion & Accessibility
The work of these groups is fundamental to IPPOG collaboration. Thanks to them, IPPOG activities can reach distant audiences, remote countries and important science events.
Finally, in the afternoon, there was the collaboration board. The meeting dedicated to the most important decisions of the entire organisation reserved only to the members. Here's the news:
- - starting from January 2023, Steven Goldfarb, current co-chair of IPPOG, will leave the baton to Claire Adam Boudarius who will be the new co-chair for three years;
- - Pedro Abreu, current co-chair, has been reconfirmed as co-chair for the next three years.
- - the name of the future scientific secretary and head of communication has been announced: Fabiola Cacciatore who will start next year supported by an administrative student;
- - Bulgaria will host the IPPOG spring meeting in May 2023 (dates will be published in the coming weeks).