Particle Physics Summer School 2020

Due to the closure of school this year’s Particle Physics Summer School has gone virtual.

While we can’t bring you the laboratory practicals we can share with you an exciting programme of lectures over two days; Thursday 9th and Friday 10th of July. These eight 45 minute lectures from academics at Queen Mary University of London will each be followed by 15 minutes of Q&A. All talks are designed to be accessible to able GCSE and A-Level students who are all welcome.

All of the talks will be held via a zoom webinar. To attend the virtual particle physics summer school, participants must register in advance using the form below. Only one registration is needed to attend all of the eight lectures and they will be delivered using the same zoom link.


Introduction to Particle Physics
This talk gives a whistle-stop tour through the history of our discovery of the subatomic world.

Particle Detectors
How do you see something smaller than an atom? With the biggest digital cameras ever built of course. This talk introduces us to the technologies and experiments that allow us to see the particles.

Particle Accelerators
Particles have to be smashed together at ultra high energies to produce new heavier particles. This talk will explain how particles are accelerated to high energies as the are pushed by electric fields and bent by magnets.

Build a LEGO Universe
Grab your LEGO and join us on a journey from the Big Bang to the first ever stars. Along the way you will piece together the basic building blocks of Nature into atoms and elements – how far through the periodic table will you get?

Discovery of the W and Z Bosons
The fusion processes that keep the Sun alive could not happen without the weak force and the W and Z particles that carry it. Professor Peter Kalmus presents a talk covering his time working on the Nobel Prize winning research that led to the discovery of these essential particles.

The Higgs Boson
In 2012 the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN claimed discovery of the Higgs Boson. The year after a Nobel prize and other accolades were handed out for this amazing feat – but what is the Higgs Boson and why is it so important? Dr Seth Zenz, who worked on ATLAS during this important time, will answer all in this talk.

Multiple Nobel prizes have been awarded to discovery related to neutrino particles – if you have never heard of them I’m not surprised because they are ghostly and rarely seen. Despite their shy nature they have proven to behave in new and interesting ways and may even hold the key to our creation – all will be explained in this talk by Dr Ben Still.

CERN Virtual Tour
We can’t fly there but we can visit the home of particle physics, CERN, virtually. Join an ATLAS scientist on a guided tour of the main CERN campus and a peek into the control room of the ATLAS experiment.

Lecture Timetable

Day 1
9.00 – 9.15amIntro to the Summer School
9.15 – 10.15amIntroduction to particle physicsBen Still
10.15 – 10.30amBreak
10.30 – 11.30amLecture: Particle DetectorsAlison Elliot
11.30am – 1.00pmLunch
1.00 – 2.00pmLecture: Particle AcceleratorsJoe Davies
2.00 – 2.15pmBreak
2.15 – 3.15pmBuild A LEGO UniverseBen Still
3.15 – 3.30pmWrap Up Day 1
Day 2
9.00 – 9.15amIntro to day 2
9.15 – 10.15amLecture: NeutrinosBen Still
10.15 – 10.30amBreak
10.30 – 11.30amLecture: The Higgs BosonSeth Zenz
11.30am – 1.00pmLunch
1.00 – 2.00pmLecture: The Discovery of the W and Z Particles : a Nobel ExperimentPeter Kalmus
2.00 – 2.15pmBreak
2.15 – 3.15pmCERN Virtual tourAlison Elliot
3.15 – 3.30pmWrap Up Day 2

Please contact Janet Mee, Assistant Director of Partnerships, with any queries via

Header image (c) Kamioka Observatory, ICRR (Institute for Cosmic Ray Research), The University of Tokyo