A delegation of high school students from the Israel Arts and Sciences Academy in Jerusalem visited CERN – the European Organization for Nuclear Research – in Switzerland this week as part of their enhanced physics studies.

The delegation of 17 12th-graders arrived at the site on Sunday and have since met with both Israeli and foreign professors and doctoral students involved in research in the field of physics.

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“We are learning a lot, listening to three or four lectures every morning, and during the second part of the day we are visiting the large research center, which is spread out over nearly all Geneva,” said high-school student Inbar Shulman on Thursday.

During the visit the students were exposed to numerous scientific subjects, including the structure of matter and fundamental forces and the study of elementary particles.

In addition, the students received firsthand knowledge about the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator, and participated in seminars and workshops to build particle detectors, hosted by CERN researchers.

The students were accompanied by Dr. Daniel Steinitz, head of the sciences at the academy, and physics teacher Brand Spring, who prepared the students for the trip with special workshops and scientific experiments conducted at the high school and at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

“Before the flight and on our first day here we received lectures on all subjects relating to physics, which explained to us exactly what we were going to see from the experts in the field, including Nobel Prize laureate physicist Samuel Ting,” said Shulman.

Among the researchers who lectured to the students were Israeli scientists Dr. Eli Sarid of the Soreq Nuclear Research Center in the Negev, Dr. Daniel Lalush, and Dr. Gilad Perez of the Weizmann Institute of Science, as well as Ting, who discovered the existence of a new heavy particle.

“During the visit we met and had tours with professors and scientists from CERN, some from the Israeli delegation, who explained to us each and every part of the center and of the accelerator research, of course; and we were told all the time that we are the next generation of scientists and after graduation must come to intern at CERN,” added Shulman.

As part of their stay, the students also visited the UN headquarters in Geneva.

The Israel Arts and Sciences Academy was established in 1990 by the Israel Center for Excellence through Education, to provide a learning environment for outstanding students in the sciences and humanities.

“The delegation’s visit is an expression of the spirit of curiosity and the joy of creation that characterize the high school students, those who would be the generation of tomorrow’s science,” said Arnon Ikan, director-general of the Israel Center for Excellence through Education. “This is a one-time experience that few are awarded.”