by Tommaso Dorigo

In a few days, students from five high schools in Venice will be lectured on particle physics, the Higgs boson, the giant detectors of today’s colliders, and will be treated with pictures and graphs aimed at stimulating their artistic vein.

This initiative, which is part of the “CREATIONS” EU project, is carried out by personnel of the AMVA4NewPhysics network – another EU project, the one I am coordinating since 2015. The idea is that students of the third and fourth year of high school spend the months of February through May creating artwork inspired by particle physics. The best of these works will be exposed during EPS 2017, the international conference that takes place this July in the Lido of Venice.

Toward the end of the EPS conference AMVA4NewPhysics will offer prizes (consumer electronics) to the best three works, as judged by a committee that includes yours truly, as well as a members of the CREATIONS network and a professor of contemporary art from the University of Padova.
I very much look forward to these lectures (the first takes place at the Liceo Foscarini on January 27th), as I well know that the age at which students decide that they want to become physicists is 16 years – exactly the age of the younger among the students attending the lectures and participating to the project.
Each lecture consists of an introductory part, where the various institutions are presented and an overview of the project is given; then a short discussion of particle physics (more in-depth lectures are foreseen in some of the schools in the coming weeks) will be followed by a description of how the Higgs boson was discovered at CERN. Finally, inspirational pictures, graphs, drawings and schemes will be shown to the students.
I will give the introductory part of the lectures, as well as the introduction to particle physics. Then a PhD student from the AMVA4NewPhysics network will discuss the Higgs boson and guide the students through the inspirational material.
Following the lectures, the students will spend afternoon hours to produce their artistic masterpieces. The students will be able to claim the hours spent in the project for the “Alternanza Scuola Lavoro”, a required period of 150-200 hours that high-school students in Italy have to spend in non-school projects. Since it is often very hard for the students to end up doing something really interesting during those afternoon hours, I expect that the students will be happy of this offer!
In the next weeks I will try to offer here a few reports of the ongoing activities. And of course in July I will publish pictures of the works here!