Magnetising student trip

A group of 17 students from the Physics department at Alton College visited the Diamond Light Source at Harwell in Oxfordshire in March. Diamond Light is a commercially-run national Synchrotron facility which uses the intense radiation (light - from infra-red, through the visible spectrum, to high-energy X-rays) that is released as electrons in the synchrotron are forced into a curved path around the “storage ring” using powerful electromagnets.

The radiation beams can be directed into various experimental areas (almost 30) where the intense radiation is used for everything from analysing the colours of dinosaur feathers to manipulating proteins in disease research, developing new drug molecules, engineering materials - even helping to preserve the Mary Rose! Diamond Light Source are currently also building a new Electron microscopy facility.

The visit enabled students to enter and view the various parts of the particle accelerator and also to visit some of the experimental “hutches” where ground-breaking research is being carried out.

Physics student Tom Eaton, previously at Eggar’s School, said ‘The trip was really interesting. It was great to visit a cutting-edge facility like Diamond and see how professional, leading research is conducted. I would definitely recommend this visit to other students.’

Curriculum Manager for Physics and Electronics, Mick de Pomerai concluded ‘All-in-all, a fascinating afternoon was had by all, students and teachers alike’.

Find out more about studying Physics at Alton College here