International School Manila students win prestigious physics competition

The students win the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire's 2018 Beamline for Schools competition with their proposal to explore the use of particles known as 'pions' for cancer therapy

Rappler.com

5:33:32am June 21, 2018

5:37:54am June 21, 2018

PHYSICS COMPETITION. Particle physics laboratory Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire announces that teams from the International School Manila and Indian high school R.N. Podar School are the winners of the 2018 Beamline for Schools competition.

PHYSICS COMPETITION. Particle physics laboratory Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire announces that teams from the International School Manila and Indian high school R.N. Podar School are the winners of the 2018 Beamline for Schools competition.

MANILA, Philippines – Students from the International School Manila (ISM) were among the winners of the 2018 Beamline for Schools competition, an initiative funded by the prestigious particle physics laboratory Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN).

Experts selected the winners from 195 teams that took part in the competition. More than 1,500 students from 42 countries participated. 

WINNERS. Students from the International School Manila team "Beamcats" win the 2018 Beamline for Schools competition. Photo from CERN

WINNERS. Students from the International School Manila team "Beamcats" win the 2018 Beamline for Schools competition. Photo from CERN

The ISM team, Beamcats, proposed the use of particles known as "pions" for cancer therapy to "simulate human tissues using materials that are similar in composition to the human body, and measure the energy lost by the beam while travelling through it, technically known as the Bragg peak."

The project makes use of subatomic particles – a potentially less harmful method of treating cancer – instead of X-rays in anti-cancer radiation therapy.

"Hard work and perseverance is the foundation on which we measure our success, and the fact that our CERN mentors identified this quality within us and our proposal was truly amazing," said Charvie Yadav of the Beamcats team.

Indian team "Cryptic Onics" from R.N. Podar School in Mumbai, India also won the competition.

The students proposed to "study the deflection of protons and electrons in a magnetic field by studying the interaction between charged particles and a magnetic field in the lab."

According to CERN, the team hopes to "learn about the anomalies in the Earth's magnetic field as a function of the variance of the cosmic ray detection rate."

This is the first time students from Asian high schools have won since the first Beamline for Schools competition in 2014.

"This year it was even harder than before to select two winning teams. Many of the participating teams would have well deserved to be invited to CERN to carry out their experiments," Beamline for Schools project manager Sarah Aretz said.

Winners of the competition were announced on Wednesday, June 20 and will carry out their proposed experiments with professional researchers at CERN in September. – Rappler.com