"A hard day, with so much beauty"

ATLAS physicists travel to Palestine for international masterclasses

13 May 2014 | By

ATLAS physicists travelled with Physics Without Frontiers 2014, a project run by International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), to three Palestinian universities this April to share the joy of scientific research with 140 students.

The project held day-long particle physics masterclasses at An-Najah National University, Birzeit University, and Al-Quds University. Each masterclass consisted of a series of lectures and discussions on particle physics followed by a hands-on session during which students analysed real LHC data and performed measurements like particle physicists. The day ended with an interactive careers session. Physics Without Frontiers promotes and motivates undergraduate and graduate students from developing countries to pursue a future in scientific research.

Approximately 70 percent of the students studying physics at university-level in Palestine are female. The number of female physics students surpassing that of men is a growing phenomenon in Palestine and the Arab world. (Image: Kate Shaw/ATLAS Collaboration)
Awra Bannoura points out the famous Higgs boson peak in the ATLAS data. Discussing results using these data is an important part of the day. (Image: Kate Shaw/ATLAS Collaboration)
Feedback from the students: "It was a hard day but with so much beauty. In general I loved the lectures that tell us about the experiments and science." Other feedbacks received echoed similar sentiments. (Image: Kate Shaw/ATLAS Collaboration)
The hands-on exercises in particle identification using real ATLAS data give students a taste of what physicists do, how they make measurements, evaluate uncertainties and form theories from results. (Image: Kate Shaw/ATLAS Collaboration)
Another feedback: "My favourite part was the hands-on session. For the first time in my life, I was dealing with something real and big like ATLAS data." (Image: Kate Shaw/ATLAS Collaboration)
More data, more comparisons, more study leads to a better understanding. It also leads to students considering a possible future in science and academia. After the masterclass was over, a student said, "I’d love to continue my studies, to get a Masters and PhD degrees." (Image: Kate Shaw/ATLAS Collaboration)
ATLAS physicists Kate and Ahmed helping students identify W boson events in order to measure the W+ / W- production ratio at the LHC. (Image: Kate Shaw/ATLAS Collaboration)
Tallying up the groups' final numbers on the board to combine results. (Image: Kate Shaw/ATLAS Collaboration)
ATLAS Virtual Visit hosted by INFN-Udine CERN associate Muhammed Alhroob, also from Palestine, from the ATLAS Control Room at CERN, Switzerland. Alhroob had participated in previous Physics Without Frontiers efforts in Palestine. (Image: Kate Shaw/ATLAS Collaboration)
The Physics Without Frontiers working group: (from left) ATLAS physicist and PhD student at Wuppertal University in Germany, Arwa Bannoura, graduate of Birzeit University in Palestine; Accelerator physics PhD student at Paris Sud XI, Hadil Abualrob, graduate of An-Najah National University in Palestine; Project coordinator and ATLAS physicist at ICTP, Kate Shaw; ATLAS physicist and PhD student at Paris Sud 11, Ahmed Bassalat, also a graduate of An-Najah National University in Palestine. (Image: Kate Shaw/ATLAS Collaboration)