Students in the ATLAS control room during Researchers' Night. (Image: ATLAS Collaboration/CERN)

Evening, Friday September 23rd. I came from Saclay (near Paris) to participate in the ‘Researchers’ Night’ event taking place across CERN as part of the European Researchers’ Night initiative. Students aged 13 to 18 were on their way from all around the local area to learn about what on earth it is we do at the mysterious “Point 1” – ATLAS’s home on the LHC ring. Three different groups of 10 or so students were to stay with the ATLAS team in the experiment’s control room from 6:00 p.m. until midnight, helping shifters to take data and monitor the experiment…

Early in the evening, we gave the students an introduction to “Physics at the LHC” as well as ATLAS itself. We wanted to help them understand what our main goals here are, although it was surprising how tricky it was to find the proper words to describe our job! After their stints in the control room, each group of students was invited to fire questions and discuss informally with ATLAS physicists over cookies and soda.

Students used a 3D visualization tool to pick out and study interesting events. (Image: ATLAS Collaboration/CERN)

Evening, Friday September 23rd. I came from Saclay (near Paris) to participate in the ‘Researchers’ Night’ event taking place across CERN as part of the European Researchers’ Night initiative. Students aged 13 to 18 were on their way from all around the local area to learn about what on earth it is we do at the mysterious “Point 1” – ATLAS’s home on the LHC ring. Three different groups of 10 or so students were to stay with the ATLAS team in the experiment’s control room from 6:00 p.m. until midnight, helping shifters to take data and monitor the experiment…

Early in the evening, we gave the students an introduction to “Physics at the LHC” as well as ATLAS itself. We wanted to help them understand what our main goals here are, although it was surprising how tricky it was to find the proper words to describe our job! After their stints in the control room, each group of students was invited to fire questions and discuss informally with ATLAS physicists over cookies and soda.