CERN — the European Organization for Nuclear Research

Colliding Particles - Episode 5: Collidonomics





Mike Paterson


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To illustrate to students ages 15+ how science develops through discussion, collaboration and completion of works, and to illustrate the relationship between experiment and theory in science.


Collidonomics is the fifth video of the series "Colliding Particles." 'Collidonomics' touches on the subject of funding. We have an update on the status of the ATLAS experiment, joins Gavin in the mountains, and continues to follow the progress of the 'Eurostar' idea.
Film Duration: 9min 25 sec.
See film here:
Topics Covered in this film:

  • Funding for Science - Jon briefly explains the need for funding in science, especially for experimentalists.
  • Funding Meeting - Members of the particle physics community present their bids for funding for the next year or two. Jon describes the UK’s contribution to CERN and the LHC.
  • Public Funding - Jon explains the need for public funding, leading to the question: Why do we do particle physics in the first place?
  • LHC Progress - Pippa describes the emotional rollercoaster that followed the opening and subsequent failure of the LHC.
  • Unpredictable Benefits - Jon explains that we cannot foresee the outcomes of an experiment like LHC. It’s part of a human quest to understand the world around us.
  • Scientific Workshop - Gavin describes the origins of his collaboration with Jon at an annual workshop where scientists share their ideas in a democratic forum.
  • Preparing the Case - Adam prepares to make the case for the Eurostar idea becoming an official part of the ATLAS project.
  • Reconnecting Atlas - Pippa’s team have tested, optimised and calibrated the giant detector, ready for the restart of the LHC.
  • Making a Presentation - Adam makes his presentation before a tough audience, responds to questions from the floor.
  • Should we? - Jon gives his answer to the question: Should we be doing this work? Are there better things we might spend our time and money on?

(See teacher's guide for this episode for exact timings of these topics within the video:
About the series:
The full series follows just one of the teams of physicists involved in the research at the LHC.
The project documents their work at the frontiers of particle physics, exploring the human stories behind the research and investigating the workings of the scientific process itself. It is designed to support the ‘How Science Works’ element of key stage 4 of the English national curriculum. The films have been made to illustrate aspects of the way in which science develops. They show scientists discussing their work, how they collaborate and compete, and the relationship between experiment and theory in science.
Although the idea of the Standard Model of particle physics and the existence of the Higgs particle are unlikely to be part of the formal curriculum for most students, these films can still be used when you wish to discuss aspects of HSW and to stimulate interest in the process of scientific discovery. Because the scientists are describing an on-going process of discovery, the films have a natural ‘story’ thread running through them.

Post date: Mon, Feb 07, 2011 — 12:04
Updated date: Tue, Nov 20, 2012 — 04:27

Learning Topics

(Maps) Who does What?
Process of Discovery