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A group of smiling pupils in a lecture theatre

More than 100 secondary school pupils from across the North of England were treated to an International Masterclass on Particle Physics at Durham.

The event was designed to immerse the students in the role of neutrino physicists. 

The masterclass included a lively particle physics card game and enlightening talks on the universe's nature, neutrinos, and neutrino detection methods. 

Live link to the USA 

The pupils were given the chance to analyse real data from the Minerva neutrino detector - a neutrino scattering project based at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in the USA. 

A particular highlight was a live video call with neutrino physicists at Fermilab, enabling the pupils to explore the experimental setup and speak directly to the American scientists themselves. 

The Masterclass was organised by Dr Jessica Turner, Assistant Professor in our Institute for Particle Physics Phenomenology (IPPP), and involved pupils from schools in Durham, Newcastle, Sunderland, Thirsk and Wingate. 

Buzzing with activity 

Jessica described the day as a ‘great success’. 

She added: “The computer rooms were abuzz with activity as pupils engaged in analysis, aided by IPPP PhD students and postdoctoral researchers.”  

“This fostered an atmosphere of collaboration and enthusiasm that carried into a Q&A session with IPPP's PhD students.” 

“The day concluded with the presentation of attendance certificates and warm farewells, leaving us all looking forward to next year’s event.”  

Enhancing our understanding of the universe 

Neutrino physics is a branch of science that studies incredibly tiny particles called neutrinos, which are almost massless and can pass through most matter in the universe without being stopped or detected. 

These elusive particles are interesting to scientists because they can help us understand fundamental aspects of the universe that other particles cannot reveal.  

By studying neutrinos, physicists hope to uncover more about how our universe works, from the smallest scales of atoms and particles to the vast reaches of outer space. 

Find out more