14 December 2017

Abingdon School students joined a group of UK teenagers to create an interactive museum of one of the world’s most famous science experiments – the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider – in the virtual land of Minecraft.

ATLAScraft was a collaborative project to construct the virtual model with pupils from three local schools, Abingdon, Didcot Girls’ School and Fitzharrys together with students from Portsmouth Grammar School. The students worked with scientists from Oxford University, Birmingham University and CERN to develop ideas that could be used to visualise and explain what happens inside the ATLAS detector, where the famous Higgs Boson was discovered.

The project was supported by the Institute for Research in Schools and the schools involved were co-ordinated by the Abingdon Science Partnership. Four 4th year pupils from Abingdon ​School took part: Charlie Franklin, Freddie Nicholson, William Bywater and Tristan Mann Powter, with Joseph O’Shea, U6th, acting as team mentor. ATLAScraft has now gone live so that anyone with access to the Minecraft computer game can explore it. Particle physicists at Oxford, Birmingham and CERN will also be using it in their own outreach activities to explain particle physics to schoolchildren. The whole project was supported financially by the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council to highlight the important role that UK based scientists play in such inspirational, international projects.

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