All the protagonists of this year`s stories are people who proved that IT CAN BE DONE! And people who transformed their daring plans into impactful projects.
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When you say CERN, your thoughts travel with the speed of light to the particle accelerator that helped researchers from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) discover with a 99.99% probability „God’s particle” – Higgs boson, the particle that enables the union between other particles into atoms.
”The greatest benefit of this trip was of a scientific nature. As a student in Chemistry, many of the experiments and explanations provided in CERN were very useful so as to understand the actual structure of atoms, matter and Universe and to observe how everything interacts”, says Andreea Vasile, a chemistry student in Bucharest.
Andreea participated in the educational session in CERN, along with 39 children and young people between 11 and 25, as part of the „Caravan of knowledge” program, rolled out under the „Petrom Olympic Champions” umbrella.
Although the particle accelerator was turned off at the time of the visit which took place in September last year, the Romanian children and youngsters had plenty to learn from CERN: they measured the radioactivity of various objects, observed the difference between the gravitational forces on Earth and Moon, conducted the Rutherford experiment explaining the structure of the atom, learned in detail the components of a particle detector and, at last, were explained in details the structure of the particle accelerator.
Apart from the scientific interest, the visit also represented something else for Andreea.
”When I saw the campus of the research institute I was most impressed with the things one can achieve there, as well as with the working environment. Therefore, CERN was included on my list of possible future careers”, explained the student.
The working environment and the people working at CERN also impressed Sabina Şerbu, a Pharmacy student in Bucharest.
”Having lunch in CERN was one of the experiences I was most curiously and enthusiastically expecting” said Sabrina.
„I heard researchers gather during lunch and discuss science issues instead of meeting in the lab. I saw hundreds of people, of all nationalities. The atmosphere was lively and diverse, creating a «what’s next?» feeling. There were also children with their parents working as researchers, even a newborn held tightly by his father. CERN is the place where science meets life.”
The visit to CERN is only one of the modules of the « Caravan of knowledge » program, organized by Petrom in partnership with the High Performance Center, CERN (Switzerland), NASA (USA) and Elis (international incubator).
”What I considered difficult and even almost impossible to achieve at the beginning of the year became real in the end. To me, the trip to CERN meant going the extra mile, first and foremost”, declared Maria Şeiculescu, Theater student in Bucharest.
The module will continue in 2014, when 20 children and youngsters will visit CERN, while 17 others will benefit from an educational internship at NASA, Florida.
The "Caravan of knowledge", launched 4 years ago by the Young Oilmen’s Association is a volunteering project involving Romanian national and international Olympic students, young people working or studying in the major academic centers worldwide, parents of the young people and employees of various companies. Having approximately 3,800 beneficiaries, the program generated 30,000 hours of volunteering per year and directed tens of young people towards scientific careers, while dozens of other youngsters achieved national performance in various areas. The program focuses on providing the children and young people with information on the most avant-garde fields and theories in science and technology, with the purpose to facilitate the assimilation of theory by understanding instead of memorizing.
General Director of Atomic Physics Institute
On behalf of the Atomic Physics Institute, my sincere congratulations to the Caravan of knowledge, volunteering project aimed to guide many young people in the wonderful realm of science. It is an impressive initiative, generous, of great value for the young generations and Romanian research. Warm congratulations for the special youth, Petrom Olympics and international Olympics, and all those who are part of this unique project team. I wish them all, from the bottom of my heart, good luck!