High Energy Collaboration: Physics Without Frontiers in Venezuela and Colombia
Physics Without Frontiers is an outreach program created by ICTP, to inspire and engage students in developing countries in high energy physics. It has been taking science on the road all over the globe in the past few years: Vietnam, Algeria, Palestine, Nepal. In October 2016 the program arrived in Colombia and Venezuela, co-sponsored by ICTP, the ATLAS Experiment, and the Universidad Antonio Nariño (UAN).
Activities for the joint program were organized by the Physics Without Frontiers team in a total of 5 cities, with 6 institutions participating over a period of 2 weeks: Universidad Antonio Nariño (UAN) in Bogotá, Colombia; Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia (UPTC) in Tunja, Colombia; Universidad Industrial de Santander (UIS) in Bucaramanga, Colombia; Universidad de Los Andes (ULA) in Mérida, Venezuela; and Universidad Simón Bolívar (USB) and Universidad Central de Venezuela (UCV) in Caracas, Venezuela.
All of the Physics Without Frontiers instructors for the Venezuela-Colombia program work at the ATLAS experiment, and are also members of the CEVALE2VE community. From left to right: Arturo Sanchez (postdoctoral fellow at ICTP), Reina Camacho (postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago), Daniela Paredes (postdoctoral researcher at Yale University) and Carlos Sandoval (professor at Universidad Antonio Nariño in Colombia). CEVALE2VE (http://cevale2ve.org/) is a virtual research and learning community created to stimulate and widen the physics postgraduate education and research in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as to create links with European and North American institutions.
Physics Without Frontiers uses current physics research to inspire and engage undergraduate and masters students in physics, with a one-day particle physics masterclass organized at each university. The masterclasses began with a series of lectures introducing particle and collider physics, and exploring how physicists investigate data from the LHC and the ATLAS experiment.
During the masterclasses the students had the opportunity to analyze real data collected by the ATLAS experiment. Using that data, they studied the decay and reconstruction of the Z boson and the recently discovered Higgs boson. This picture was taken at the UCV ATLAS Masterclass in Caracas, Venezuela.
To strengthen connections between Venezuelan and Colombian institutions, their respective masterclasses took place simultaneously, with videoconferences connecting them. This scheduling aimed to highlight the importance of the international nature of scientific work, and the vital need to collaborate, in particular with one’s neighbors. Four virtual visits to the ATLAS experiment control room at CERN also added to the international collaboration. Around 80 students participated in the masterclasses in each country, with this picture taken at UCV in Caracas, Venezuela.
The Physics Without Frontiers team also discussed opportunities at CERN, ICTP, DESY, and elsewhere for further studies, talking about possibilities with students and professors in the Careers and Opportunities in High Energy Physics session organized at each university. This picture was snapped at UIS in Bucaramanga, Colombia.
Engaging the media and general public is a crucial part of the discussion about the importance of investing in science education and physics research for the academic, social, and economic growth of the country. Several public activities were organized in different cities for people of all ages.
CEVALE2VE’s current teaching methodologies mainly rely on online courses and webinars, so having the members of CEVALE2VE physically present in the institutes fomented teacher-student interactions. Discussion sessions and tutorials on the ATLAS data portal tools were organized for students who participated in the online courses earlier this year.
Many thanks go to all the local organizers who hosted the Physics Without Frontiers team at the six universities in Venezuela and Colombia: Prof. Luis Nuñez from UIS, Prof. Diego Gallego from UPTC, Prof. Hector Hernandez from ULA, Prof. Jorge Stephany from USB and Prof. José Antonio Lopez from UCV. This photo features the great support team at UIS in Bucaramanga, Colombia.
ICTP’s Physics Without Frontiers program has been on the road since 2008, bringing high-energy physics masterclasses and courses to inspire and engage students in developing countries. In 2016, a joint program in Venezuela and Colombia was organized to both explore high energy physics with students and to strengthen connections between institutions in the two countries. The virtual research and learning community of CEVALE2VE was also highlighted, as a network created to stimulate and widen the physics postgraduate education and research in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as to create links with European and North American institutions.
Feedback from students was enthusiastic: many are hoping to apply to various programs to continue their high-energy physics studies.
“We had the opportunity to learn about the ATLAS and LHC research programs, about physics that is still not written in the books which is very exciting. I am motivated to learn more about CERN and apply to the CERN summer school program next year.” — Jeinny Pérez (4th year physics undergrad, UCV)
“The experience taught us the importance of working in collaboration with other researchers in the country, as well around the world, to efficiently perform this task. At the USB the students are looking forward to repeating this fascinating experience.” — Manuel Morgado (5th year physics undergrad, USB)
Dr. Luis Nuñez, profesor at the Universidad Industrial de Santander (UIS), was also enthusiastic about the work done by the CEVALE2VE community, and its extension with the PWF program:
“At the Universidad Industrial de Santander Bucaramanga-Colombia, we have benefited a lot from the effort of CEVALE2VE team, with students from our emerging Astroparticle group participating in the two editions of their Particle and Detector Physics Course as well as the PWF program. From the lectures, the projects, and the interaction with the instructors we have profited from their first hand experience in detector physics and data analysis. We immediately applied these skills to several local projects, in particular our Muon Telescope to study volcanic inner structure in Colombia. Thanks to this group of enthusiastic and dedicated young researchers, our group has become very active in astroparticle field.”