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Some 50 learners from Coselelani Senior Secondary School and Urban Academy had the opportunity to experience the world of science during a virtual tour of the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) outside Geneve, Switzerland.

The virtual tour, under the theme Advancing Science Tourism, took place at the university’s Business School Auditorium and was one of several National Science Week pre-launch activities hosted at Nelson Mandela University.

Guest speaker and Chairperson of the national SA-CERN Programme Prof Jean Cleymans first introduced the facility, with its Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator - a 27km ring buried 100 metres below ground level.

Prof Claymans also explained the links and collaboration with South Africa and the rest of the world as well as the different programmes and projects South Africa is involved in.

Learners were immensely intrigued by a solar panel dustbin situated at CERN’s cafeteria that compacts waste and sends a text to be cleared.

Thereafter, a virtual link with South African physicist Dr Claire Lee, stationed at CERN, was established. Dr Lee explained more about the facility, where more than 3 000 staff work around the clock in shifts to monitor its projects constantly. Dr Lee also shared everyday examples such as the establishment of the World Wide Web and touch screen technology, which were developed at CERN. Particle acceleration is also used for cancer treatment and medical imaging, among others.

Learners were also very intrigued by dark matter and the fact that there is still so much unknown about this field.

Dr Lee also emphasised the importance of science and mathematics at school level as well as computer science at university level.

“It was very interesting. I love science and would like to work in science one day,” said Urban Academy Grade 11 learner Ntombozuko Mkoko after the event.  

PICTURE 1:CERN presenter Dr Claire Lee, a South African based at CERN, explained CERN programmes and activities and excited learners about the world of particle physics from the visitor centre at CERN via a virtual link.  

PICTURE 2:Learners experiencing the world of science during a virtual tour of the European Centre for Nuclear Research CERN outside Geneve, Switzerland. 

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777