This November 2019 fifteen Grade 11 and Grade 12 Physics students visited Geneva and Bern, in Switzerland.
They began with a visit to Einstein’s house in Bern, where students were presented with his discoveries during the “annus mirabilis” of 1905, when he published seminal papers on the nature of light, gravity and relativity.
Next, a guided tour of the United Nations HQ in Geneva; students got to know the importance and processes behind this organisation and the increasing need for international cooperation for the promotion of world peace and social, economic and scientific progress. This was then further highlighted on a subsequent visit to the International Red Cross Committee museum, where the heart-breaking stories of refugees, war-afflicted families and people affected by natural disasters were very powerfully conveyed to the girls. They learned to cherish the self-sacrifice of those working at the Red Cross and the power that service has to bring change to the world.
On the last day, they went to CERN, the world’s most advanced particle physics laboratory, where they were given unprecedented access to the facilities where anti-matter is created. In its maze of tunnels, particle accelerators and countless computers, the students were presented with a first-hand account of the international partnerships involved in the frontier areas of particle physics.
Quite a departure from Einstein’s “lone genius” days, the girls experienced how Physics is, at its core, a joint effort, where collaboration and effective communication are as important as the understanding of the specific subject content. What could be more IB than this!