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Shedding Light on the Dark Universe

APPEAL-2 Teachers conference took place in the department on Saturday 2nd July 2011. The conference offered teachers the opportunity to update their knowledge of the physics underlying the LHC and the connection between accelerator science, particle physics and astronomy.

The conference aimed to answer questions such as "What is the origin of the Universe?", "How are LHC experiments connected to astronomy and dark matter?" and "What are the applications of particle accelerators in our daily lives?".

Around 20 teachers attended the conference, travelling from as far as Poland. Feedback indicated they felt the day provided a welcoming, informal atmosphere with lots of opportunities for questions. Teachers had specific queries about material in the post-16 syllabus such as Feynman diagrams and there was also discussion about areas that were difficult to approach within the constraints of the curriculum. One teacher also expressed that it was particularly useful to cover material beyond the syllabus as students often ask demanding questions in class.

During the day teachers attended a series of lectures on physics topics, student finance and careers in physics. They visited Jesus College, took part in a tour of the teaching labs and had an opportunity to build cloud chambers in the lab to detect cosmic rays.

This year's event built up on success of APPEAL-2010 and we are looking forward
for APPEAL-2012, armed with two years experience.