Blessed William Howard

The Painsley Catholic Academy was established in 2012. We are the largest Catholic multi-academy company in the Archdiocese of Birmingham.

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Students hunt for the Higgs boson at CERN


Seventeen physics students from Blessed William Howard Catholic High School have been inspired by a visit to CERN (The European Council for Nuclear Research) and the home of the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva.

During the visit the students discovered how CERN is helping to explore some of the most fundamental issues such as how the universe began and what the basic building blocks of matter actually are. 


Scientific breakthroughs, such as the discovery of the Higgs boson, require experimental machines on a large scale and the students gained an appreciation of the technical and engineering challenges that the multinational experimental collaborations at CERN face.

Liam Alsopp (17) from Blessed William Howard Catholic High School said, ‘I thought the trip was brilliant and I really enjoyed it.  It was both educational and fun, and has made me think about going on to study Physics at university. I would recommend visiting CERN to everyone.”

The Blessed William Howard Catholic High School students’ visit was led by a member of the CERN community who talked from personal experience about their contribution to CERN’s research programme.  STFC (the Science and Technology Facilities Council) Chief Executive Officer, Professor John Womersley said “The scale of the science and technology at CERN is awe-inspiring.  There is no doubt that seeing it at first hand, and meeting the people who work on the experiments, can influence young people’s future education and career choices.  My own research career began at CERN and I continue to be fascinated by its discoveries.”

The UK has been a member of CERN since the organisation was founded in 1954.  Membership allows British researchers to take a wide variety of roles that contribute to CERN’s on-going success; from recently qualified technicians and university undergraduates gaining their first taste of working in an international environment to PhD students analysing experimental data and experienced engineers and physicists leading projects or representing their experimental collaborations.