Royal Grammar School

Newcastle

Physics Trip to Oxford

Physics Trip to Oxford

A group of 19 students and two teachers made their way down to Oxford on Thursday 5th February to visit the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the famous Oxford University with a view to Physics beyond sixth form. We stayed in a local ‘building full of rooms’ (-J. Yeomans) and visited the Diamond Light Source, a genuine scientific Mecca, to attend a Particle Physics Masterclass with students from many other schools giving us a taste of what the top end of research involves and what particle physics can do for the world. Snigdha Sen represented RGS superbly, coming top in the quiz which finished the day, proving that she can indeed do Physics, her.

The following morning we were treated to a tour around the sights, sounds, smells and colleges of Oxford by our very own Dr Pulham, a venerable gent and previous attendee, who was at his most animated retelling stories involving shenanigans on campus. The trip finished with a talk from a resident Physics professor on Physics at Oxford, who offered a relevant insight into Physics as a career. We left tired, inspired and fired up, having seen England demolish the Welsh away from home. Thanks to Drs Houchin and Pulham for a truly enriching weekend.

 


Snigdha receives the 'I can do Physics, me' trophy.

 




 


The group outside the Diamond Light Source in Didcot.

 




 



The group under Hertford College’s replica of the Venetian ‘Bridge of Sighs’.

 






An account of the physics trip by Chris Wilson L6 CRP

Having arrived at 10pm on Thursday night it was straight to bed for the group as they eagerly awaited the coming days. An early start of 8.30 proved too much for some of our number and we found ourselves held up by a good 15 minutes as we set off on the first team bus to the Diamond Light source (the UK's answer to the Large Hadron Collider).

They day was long and jam packed with fascinating physics for all. The true scale of this particle accelerator cannot be underestimated, with a circumference of 586 metres it is a true behemoth, testament to this is it's £40 million a year running cost.

After a comprehensive tour of the site we were given a truly fascinating particle physics mater class by some leading experts, one of whom actually works at CERN. Then we went to a lab where we worked on trying to identify the various different particles produced from data collected by the actual LHC itself. After this we took part in the individual particle physics quiz which was actually jointly won by one of our group, but more on this latter.

That evening as we stepped into O’Neill's Irish Bar and Grill the air was thick with anticipation. Wilson bravely lead the charge to the bar, supported by Mattinson, to enquire as to whether or not there would be a screening of the "Rugger" as they say in Oxford. After a tense few minutes trying to catch the eye of the bartender, Wilson struck lucky; he was approached by a dark haired steward from across the bar. Conscious of his age young Christopher drew himself up to his full height and blew out his chest "My good man will you be showing this evenings fixture?" his dulcet tones reverberated around the bar.
"Of course mate" came the reply and with that the victorious little rapscallion ordered himself a coke and gesticulated violently to the group to enter, as all was well!

As we neared kick off the place began to fill, the swell of people steadily growing it became apparent that this would be quite an unforgettable event . The females of the group, Sen the wise (who had won the afternoons particle physics quiz and was now in line for the "I can do physics me trophy"- though she didn't know it at the time), Yau the bold and, of course, Ms Bromham of a fine taste in music, decided to order food and with that they preceded to a table to discuss the events of the day!

The game began poorly for the mighty roses with the dragons taking an early lead but English fervour held out with cries of Swing low flying around the bar. The voices of Bewlay and Nelson were particularly strong as they led the piece with real gravitas and sincerity.

The second half it's fair to say faded in to a quagmire of cheer and merriment as the mercurial Robshaw led England to a fine victory!

All in all a fine evening to top off a brilliant trip!

I would like to take this moment to thank Dr Houchin and Dr Pullham (who took us on a comprehensive and engaging tour of Oxford on the Saturday morning) on behalf of all the students trip and urge anyone who has the chance to go on next years!