Visit Diamond Light – the UK’s largest particle accelerator



There are still a few places left on the inaugural SSERC physics and technology Diamond school.

Diamond light is the UK’s largest particle accelerator based at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories at Harwell. The facilities there developed an anti-virus for foot and mouth, test the integrity of Rolls Royce turbine blades and are growing new high efficiency solar cell crystals amongst other developments.

The visit will allow you to experience first-hand some of the U.K.’s leading research and see how much of its work is based here in Scotland. It is a great opportunity to see different disciplines working together using techniques such as X-ray diffraction and interference to study anything from the timbers of the Mary Rose, to the structure of novel materials. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of their work we would particularly welcome joint applications from technology and physics teachers.

The course will allow you to build, code and take away your own Lego based Linear Accelerator and CT scanner. The LINAC output drives a Lego plotter that draws the interference pattern, rather than a display screen, a great way to engage learners.

Whilst a smaller facility than CERN, Diamond Light is more accessible and just as mind blowing. You’ll be able to walk on top of the accelerator and visit the beamline experiments in their labs. You will have opportunities to meet engineers and researchers where they work.

To help you prepare we’ve organised a SSERCmeet for those on the course with researchers and engineers around the globe on how the facility works, what they use it for and the intended impact on society.

The visit is on Friday 7th and Saturday 8th October. After the visit we’ll follow it up with a day at SSERC where you’ll have the opportunity to meet some of the Scottish based researchers and engineers using Diamond Light and discuss how to weave its work into your curriculum.

Teachers from state funded school will be eligible for Enthuse funding to cover the course fees and contribute to your travel. A chance to get your Physics and Engineering senses excited again and discover new practical science opportunities for your schools.

 Further details are available on the SSERC website, in the Physics CPD section, or by emailing



Author: I. Menzies

Senior Education Officer for Sciences, Education Scotland

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