Teacher visits world-famous laboratory

Alan McKeegan at Cern
Alan McKeegan at Cern

A SCIENCE teacher from St Helens has told how he picked up a series of “mind blowing” tips on a visit to the world-famous Cern laboratory in Switzerland.

Alan McKeegan spent his half term “holiday” at a high-level physics conference alongside 50 fellow teachers from all over the world.

The 31-year-old described the experience as “intense but very enjoyable”.

Mc McKeegan, head of science at Haydock High, said: “It was the first time I had ever visited Cern and the scale of the place was really impressive. We got to see what goes on behind the scenes too - it was mind blowing.

“A lot of kids struggle to understand what science is really all about but, at Cern, I got to see science in action. It was really complex stuff but we got to meet several Nobel prize winners and I’ve come back really re-energised and inspired.”

Among the features of the futuristic Cern laboratory is the Large Hardron Collider - a giant 27km underground loop.

Work inside the loop, in which tiny protons are smashed together to the speed of light, led to last year’s astonishing discovery of the Higgs Boson - an elementary particle of life.

Mr McKeegan, of Sutton Leach, who has been head of science at Haydock High for the last two-and-a-half years, even got to witness a live feed to the international space station!

He added: “We might take some gifted and talented sixth formers to Cern in the future and I’ve already decided to slightly change a couple of practicals that we do.

“But the main thing I’ve brought back is to realise how much can be achieved when people work collaboratively. The staff at Cern hail from 197 different countries.

“I’m sure we could do something really special if all the schools in St Helens joined forces on projects from time to time.”