Be a scientist for a day: the International Masterclasses program for high school students


What if your physics lesson is not just about sliding blocks of wood, light bulbs strung together, and steam pistons? Imagine being young students passionate about science and for one day your teachers let you live the experience of being a real scientist dealing with real data! Thanks to the International Masterclasses program (IMC) organized by the International Particle Physics Outreach Group (IPPOG), this exciting adventure has been made possible for high-school students around the world. IPPOG is an international network of scientists, scientific educators, and communication specialists with the aim of spreading particle physics to the public and helping to build and share best practices science education.

International Masterclasses take place annually around March with over 13,000 students from 60 countries. To take part in an International Masterclass, students and teachers can connect online from their schools, or they can travel to a local university or research centre. Scientists currently active in particle physics research run the masterclasses, effectively guiding the students on a journey to unravel the mysteries of our universe.


Pictures provided by the author, attribution CC-By

A typical International Masterclass day involves lectures from active scientists giving insight into current topics and methods of basic research of the fundamental components of matter and their interactions. It then enables students to perform measurements on real data collected from current experiments. At the end of each day, as in an international research collaboration, the participants join in a video conference for discussion and combination of their results.

This is a unique and unforgettable opportunity for students who, for a whole day, will work with real data from the largest particle physics experiments on the planet: the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN running in a 27 km tunnel 100 meters underground in the countryside of Geneva (Switzerland) where the particles collide almost at the speed of light, or a neutrino experiment at Fermilab. During a masterclass, particle physics is a hands-on activity. Students not only learn the secrets of particle physics by getting a taste of cutting-edge research, they also experience the value of international collaboration between groups from various areas of the world. The international aspect of the masterclasses helps the future generation to confront environments that are not limited to the classroom but sees themselves as protagonists of a new challenge: international scientific collaboration.


Pictures provided by the author, attribution CC-By

The advantages of the International Masterclasses are many:
• experience hands-on particle physics for a day;
• get insight into topics and methods of basic research of the fundamental components of matter and their interactions;
• perform measurements on real data collected from particle physics experiments;
• participate in an international video conference for discussion of results with real scientists.
The registrations to the IMC are opened from November of each year.

If you are interested, contact coordinators:
Ken Cecire ( or Uta Bilow (

Relevant links:

International Masterclasses:

International Particle Physics Outreach (IPPOG):

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