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Bringing Science to Students with the LHC Inauguration and Career Panel

22 October 2008

With National Science and Technology Week in full swing across Canada, and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) inauguration ceremony occurring at CERN, TRIUMF held its own celebratory event on October 21. The day was called Science on the World Stage in recognition of the international scope of the LHC as well as the global impact of science itself. The event was aimed primarily at high school students.

October 21 marked the inauguration of the LHC with CERN hosting dignitaries from over 40 countries, plus a later party for CERN scientists, dubbed “LHCfest”, and TRIUMF held its own celebration for the occasion. Nigel Lockyer, TRIUMF’s director, opened the day with remarks about the challenges and rewards of a scientific career. The morning focused on the LHC and more broadly on the many consequences of science for the world. Isabel Trigger gave a presentation that explained the importance of pure scientific research, dovetailing into a description of the LHC, its goals, and Canada’s contributions with ATLAS. The morning finished with observations from Tim Meyer on the international collaborative aspect of the LHC and the ability of science to transcend politics.

In the afternoon, more students joined the event for a scientific career panel organized by TRIUMF and the National Research Council (NRC)'s Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics. The panel’s aims were to “encourage Canadian youth, especially those who are exploring potential career opportunities, to consider furthering their education in science and technology”. The three scientists on the panel and their fields were Isabel Trigger in particle physics at TRIUMF, Andrew Ross in marine chemistry at Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Lars Rose in fuel cell technology at NRC's Institute for Fuel-Cell Innovation. The panel was moderated by Eric Chisholm from the NRC Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics. The three scientists each gave a presentation on their lives as scientists and the education and career path that led them to their current profession. The presentations were followed by a question and answer period led by Chisholm and participated in by the students.

Themes that the three scientists emphasized in their presentations and answers were the importance of teamwork, the globe-spanning nature of scientific careers and education, and the advantages of a willingness to try new things. After the panel finished, students took the opportunity to speak with the scientists personally and ask questions in a more informal manner. The day wrapped up for the students with a tour of the TRIUMF laboratory, guided by Anthony Hillairet.

By Kaitlan Huckabone
TRIUMF's Communications Assistant