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CERN- Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire / The Crocus Reactor & BMW



BMW Visit

A big portion of our trip to Germany was the Bavarian Motor Works museum. Located across the Munich Olympic Park, the museum, along with The Welt, is a work of modern architecture. The Welt is a facility showcasing the company’s newest models and achievements, including the new BMW i8, the lovechild of futuristic design and clean energy. The museum itself takes you through the ages of BMW’s endeavors. It tells the tale of the company’s tumultuous beginnings, all the way to the massive success it is today. Through galleries of impressive installations, we experienced the thrills and challenges of a multi-billion dollar company. Engines ranging from 2 cylinders to 16 cylinders blew us away, along with the history of the Mini seen through many models that ranged through the years. Many a jaw was dropped at the sight of the concept car used in the movie Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol. The museum managed to change our perspective of the company in just a short time, and we hope to visit it again in the near future!

By Kevin Gandhi – Grade XII IB

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CERN- Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire

CERN, which is the largest particle physics laboratory in the world opens its doors to high school students who wish to get an in-depth look at what it is like to be a scientist or engineer at one of the world's most prestigious research laboratories.

Our School organized a visit for Physics students to CERN in September, 2015. It allowed us to witness what is actually happening at CERN especially the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). We also got the opportunity to go to CMS and ATLAS both of which were involved in the search of the Higgs Boson. Both the CMS and ATLAS have similar goals but have different technical solutions and a different magnet-system design. We also visited the Synchrocyclotron which is the first accelerator in CERN of 600 MeV in 1957. It is now used in an exhibition area which takes us back from the present to the beginning of physics research at CERN in a very innovative way which brings back the Synchrocyclotron to life. Our guides were scientists who work at CERN and are involved in big projects of CERN such as the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) which detect anti-matter on the International Space Station and it was an amazing experience interacting with them.

By Shivesh Khetan - Grade XII IB

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THE CROCUS REACTOR

This September, the physics students of Aditya Birla World Academy had the opportunity of visiting the Laboratory for Reactor Physics and Systems Behaviour (LRS) at the École Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne (EPFL).

Needless to say, it was a unique experience as we got to see the Crocus Reactor under the guidance of Dr. Pavel Frajtag and Dr. Vincent, who are spear-heading the project at Lausanne. The Crocus Reactor is an experimental nuclear reactor with a maximum power of 100W making it a zero-power reactor. The advantage of the reactor's low power is that within a few hours of shutdown, the radioactivity levels drop to a negligible level and it is perfectly safe to approach the core for teaching and research purposes.

The nuclear reactor is shielded by a thick concrete wall and before entering we were given devices which would measure our radiation exposure levels in micro Sieverts.  Passing through the differential pressure chamber we reached the control room where we were given an overview of the operations of the reactor, its monitoring and control systems which use both analogue and digital systems and the safety features of the reactor.

Seeing the core of the Crocus Reactor at such close quarters was a surreal experience for us. The reactor core, shaped like a cylinder, consisted of vertical low-enriched uranium bars sheathed in aluminum with deionized water used as a moderator and reflector. We were explained that the Crocus Reactor is controlled by two control rods and by adjusting the moderation water level. After visiting the reactor, we had a question-answer session which was equally interesting as we gained valuable insights into the working and safety of nuclear reactors.

Truly, it was an exhilarating experience…. and a dream come true!  I sincerely thank the school for giving us such an opportunity of a life-time!

By Sam Jijina – Grade XII IB