Dutch-speaking teachers at CERN

Deelnemers aan het programma - Foto: Jean-Pierre Grootaerd

Mid-February 2024, a three-day visit of CERN was organised by SSVI (Sterren Schitteren Voor Iedereen), and in particular Jean-Pierre Grootaerd, with 35 teachers and educators from Flanders and the Netherlands.

Tours were organised to the Synchrocyclotron, CERN Science Gateway, the ALICE experiment, the Data Centre, the Antimatter Factory and a science show. Lectures were given by Guillaume Durey (CERN Solvay student camps), Jeff Wiener (teacher and student programmes at CERN) and Markus Joos (beamline for schools).

The programme was much more extensive than expected. Thanks to the excellent work of the visits Service and the very passionate scientists who showed us around.

Here are some quotes of the participating teachers.

"In the vicinity of giant magnetic rings and complex detectors, an inspiring atmosphere was created that encouraged a passion for science.
As we listened to the expert explanations of passionate scientists and the stories of the pioneers who worked here, we realised that the world of particle physics is no longer inaccessible, but rather an invitation to future scientists, our students.
It was an inspiring journey, stoking the fire of curiosity and encouraging teachers and students to see the world of science as a playground for their own journey of discovery.
With projects like Beamline for Schools and the CERN Teachers programme, the door is open for a crazy journey.
The visit to CERN acted as a catalyst for dreaming about the possibility for young people to experiment, to wonder and to contribute to the growing reservoir of human knowledge''.

Christophe De Beule, IMB Bruges

"I arrived at school on time from Ghent this morning. My first pupils are coming, but for the rest of the day it won't be a normal lesson. How would that be? What an experience on all fronts, hard to put into words. I'm not going to promise anything, my data centre is still overheating and the pre-processing is already underway. The first virtual "concoctions" are already appearing. Now it's time for an energetic "collision" with the appropriate students to convey the overwhelming momentum I'm carrying.
Oi, the students are there and looking at me with questioning eyes, this is going to be fun...''

Johan Vanbeselaere, Ypres

"It was an unforgettable experience and fascinating to see the huge underground detectors used for fundamental research on the smallest building blocks of the universe. The passion and dedication of the scientists who work there and give tours was inspiring. It gave me a better understanding of the progress being made in particle physics and the incredible possibilities this research offers for understanding the universe. My colleague and I will be able to get our students excited about science''

Coen Martens, Philip De Vos H. Family St. Niklaas

I would like to thank you once again for this unforgettable trip to CERN. Most impressive was the visit to the ALICE experiment and the anti-matter factory.
The Flemish guide at ALICE was very enthusiastic and talked so understandably (literally with his hands and feet) about his work. It was then (and for some time now) that I realised what I had missed when I was about 16 years old: if I had known at school that there was such a thing as CERN and quantum physics and so on, I would have been just as enthusiastic and interested then as I am now, and would probably have gone on to do a degree in that field. Now it remains "just" a hobby. That is why it is so important that there are study programmes and projects like SSVI to get young people excited and maybe give them a direction for their future career".

Johnn, Orion Observatory Educator.

"I'm glad I was able to experience this. Today I explained the particle accelerator to my students and got them excited about taking part in the selection for the student camp. Some of them have already said that they will try. The train to bring more Belgian students to CERN has started, thanks to you."

Miel Ferdinande, Atheneum Oostende

''What an amazing 3 days I had with a wonderful group of people! Respect for how you managed to do it all! All the effort you put in obviously does not go unnoticed.
The knowledge we all gained will continue to spread to a very large group of young people and adults, both in the classes and in the observatories.
The resulting opportunities and contacts will also ensure the further spread of a great deal of knowledge - to a wide and varied audience. How wonderful! All that remains is for me to thank you for all that you make possible in this way. It was a truly first class three days! Thank you also for the slides; very useful and interesting.
Tonight I will be at the observatory and I 'fear' that the visitors will hear something about CERN."

Monique Spitaels, Cozmix Bruges