The IPPOG masterclasses in particle physics are a series of events dedicated to secondary school students, organised internationally by CERN and in Italy by INFN.
In Italy, the Masterclass days are held at universities in 22 Italian cities, where the students are accompanied by INFN researchers on a journey of discovery into the properties of particles and of interaction with research and exchange with peers from many countries around the world.
The Masterclasses take place between February and March and open each year on 11 February with the International Day of Women and Girls in Science to promote gender equality in research and involve female students in experiments and particle physics.
Each location organises one or more days of lectures and seminars on the fundamental topics of particle physics, followed by computer exercises in which students analyse data from experiments at CERN’s LHC particle accelerator. In addition to the data from CERN experiments, some Masterclasses are dedicated to the BELLEII experiment at the KEK laboratory in Tsukuba, Japan, and others, only in Italy since 2021 at the Milan and Cosenza sites, are dedicated to the applications of particle physics to medicine and are organised in collaboration with the National Centre for Oncology Therapy (CNAO).
At the end of each day, just like in a real international research collaboration, a videoconference link is organised between the young Masterclass participants from all over the world to discuss the results of the exercises together.
In 2021, almost 2,000 high school students from all over Italy took part in it and, simultaneously with their peers from all over the world, were able to discover how particle physics works by delving into CERN’s research and meeting those who work there.
The initiative is part of the international Masterclasses organised by IPPOG (International Particle Physics Outreach Group) and, in Italy, by INFN.
The Masterclasses take place simultaneously in 60 different countries, involve over 200 of the world’s most prestigious research bodies and universities, and more than 13,000 secondary school students.
Cities and INFN sites: Bari, Bologna, Cagliari, Cosenza, Ferrara, Florence, Genoa, Lecce, Milano Bicocca, Milan, Naples, Padua, Parma, Pavia, Perugia, Pisa, Salerno, Sapienza University of Rome, Roma Tor Vergata, Roma Tre, Turin, Trento, Trieste and Udine, and the National Laboratories of Frascati.