Dr Sahal Yacoob explains the fundamentals of particle physics to UKZN’s visitors.
The School of Chemistry and Physics hosted its first ever International Master Class on Hands-On Particle Physics.
This international event which takes place in about 37 countries is now in its ninth year. Each year about 10 000 high school students all over the world visit one of about 160 nearby universities or research centres for a day in order to delve into the mysteries of particle physics.
Lectures from active scientists give insight in topics and methods of basic research on the fundaments of matter and forces, enabling the students to perform measurements on real data from particle physics experiments. At the end of the day, the participants join in a video conference – similar to international research collaboration - for discussion and combination of their results.
The master classes allow for students to get out of school for the day and meet at a nearby university or research centre to get insight into topics and methods of basic research at the fundaments of matter and forces.
This provides an opportunity to perform measurements on real data from particle physics experiments at CERN. Students from Cato Manor in Durban were hosted at UKZN’s Science and Technology Education Centre, where they were given a physics lecture by CERN researcher and UKZN lecturer Dr Sahal Yacoob, who then supervised them in experiments in particle physics conducted in the computer laboratories.
Ms Martha Bishai, Head of K-RITH’s Umkhumbane Schools Project, was instrumental in getting the high schools from Cator Manor involved. The Umkhumbane Schools Project is an educational outreach initiative sponsored by K-RITH through a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and works towards improving opportunities and outcomes in maths and science education in the five secondary schools in the historic Umkhumbane/Cato Manor township area on the outskirts of Durban.