During October half term, a group of sixth-form pupils travelled to Geneva as part of their A-level Physics studies.  The highlight of the trip was a visit to CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, where, using the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe and the laws that govern it.  The pupils met several of the experts working in this field, took part in informative discussions, and were given an in-depth tour of some of the facilities at CERN.  They were able to see how the physics that they are studying as part of their AS and A-levels is used at the forefront of scientific research: how magnetic and electrical fields are used to accelerate particles to high speeds before colliding them and analysing how the products – the fundamental building blocks of life – are composed, and how understanding of this can answer questions about such phenomena as dark matter and gravity.  Whilst in Geneva, we also visited ITU – the United Nations specialised agency for information and communication technologies (ICT).  Here we were given a fascinating insight into how ITU manages global ICT by allocating global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, developing technical standards for internet and telephone usage, and improving ICT access to underserved and isolated communities worldwide.  We were reminded how our internet usage can reveal alarming amounts of our personal information, but reassured that, in an increasingly interconnected world, all of our ICT is managed by a single global organization controlling 193 countries and 700 tech companies in this dynamic and fast-growing sector.

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