Today we had a special speaker in our Pre-AP Physics class, Dr. Flera Rizatdinova (who is originally from Moscow and has a very strong Russian accent, which makes the talk much more interesting) from the Oklahoma State University Dept. of Physics. She is a scientist working on the ATLAS collaboration at the Large Hadron Collider. She shared some of the writing she has been doing for the DOE (which I mistakenly confused with the Dept. of Ed. initially) towards the end of her presentation. She was writing for them about the "benefits of particle physics research" which is a subject that arises frequently in my class. I hear something like "Mr. Bowie, isn't this just an enormous waste of money?"
Dr. Rizatdinova talked extensively about what the questions the LHC is trying to answer (see previous post). This was the deepest part of the presentation and was probably a little above level of my students (but if I don't set the bar high, they won't achieve as much, right?). At the end, she took some questions which was really good for the students. I'm glad they have some opportunities to interact with college professors/scientists.
There wasn't really any ground-breaking material in her talk. I have been keeping up with the goings-on of the LHC recently and did some research over the summer with Dr. Rizatdinova, so much of this was a review for me. I'm not sure how the students will react to it, I'll try to get some feedback tomorrow. I was simply excited about having a real, live scientist in my classroom and wanted to share the experience!