Stu­dy trip to Switzerland

In the week from 9 to 12 April we vi­si­ted two lar­ge re­se­arch in­sti­tu­tes and a nu­clear power plant lo­ca­ted in Switz­er­land. More spe­ci­fi­cal­ly, the­se are the PSI (Paul Scher­rer In­sti­tu­te) and the CERN In­sti­tu­te in Switz­er­land. The ex­cur­si­on was or­ga­ni­zed by the DHBW Mos­bach and the In­for­ma­tik Jahr­gang 2016.
It all star­ted with the trip to the Paul Sche­rer In­sti­tu­te in Vil­li­gen, Switz­er­land. The in­sti­tu­te is ac­ti­ve in several re­se­arch are­as from the na­tu­ral and en­gi­nee­ring sci­en­ces. Be­cau­se of the broad spec­trum of di­sci­pli­nes and the com­ple­xi­ty of the to­pic, the ba­sics of par­ti­cle phy­sics were pre­sen­ted to us for the first time. Af­ter­wards we were in­tro­du­ced to the dif­fe­rent fiel­ds. The­se in­clu­de the sub­ject are­as: Re­se­arch with neu­trons and muons, nu­clear en­er­gy, pho­ton sci­ence, etc. This also in­clu­des the tre­at­ment of can­cer be­hind the eye and si­mi­lar can­cers that can­not be trea­ted so well with chemotherapy.
We were then able to take a gui­ded tour of in­di­vi­du­al parts of the lar­ge facility.

SLS com­pa­ny building

SLS con­struc­tion

CERN Me­mo­ri­al

The se­cond day was, in con­trast to the first, more free. In the morning we vi­si­ted the in­ven­tors’ fair iENA (In­ter­na­tio­nal Tra­de Fair for “Ide­as, In­ven­ti­ons and No­vel­ties”). The­re we had an in­sight into dif­fe­rent ide­as, from ro­bots for clea­ning lakes to electric cars.
Af­ter our stay at the fair, we spent the free af­ter­noon in the city of Ge­ne­va. We were able to dis­co­ver the cu­li­na­ry and cul­tu­ral of­fers of the city in the sun­ny weather.

On the third day we vi­si­ted CERN (Eu­ro­pean Or­ga­niz­a­ti­on for Nu­clear Re­se­arch). Not only did we see so­me­thing about the histo­ry and cur­rent re­se­arch pro­jects, but we were also able to take a look be­hind the sce­nes. CERN has several par­ti­cle ac­ce­le­ra­tors and the LHC (Lar­ge Hadron Col­li­der) in which pro­ton beams are brought into col­li­si­on af­ter ac­ce­le­ra­ti­on. The LHC alo­ne is al­rea­dy over 26 km long and is equip­ped with several mea­su­ring stations.
We loo­ked at both the work­shop whe­re the tube and the ne­cessa­ry com­pon­ents for the ac­ce­le­ra­tors will be built and the con­trol cent­re for the va­rious fa­ci­li­ties. Some of them also vi­si­ted the con­trol cent­re for the ex­pe­ri­ments on the ISS.
Sin­ce the LHC is not in ope­ra­ti­on at the mo­ment, we also had the op­por­tu­ni­ty to go un­der­ground at a sta­ti­on (ALICE). We were able to ob­ser­ve the lar­ge mea­su­ring sta­ti­on up clo­se at a depth of 60 metres.

ALICE de­tec­tor

De­tec­tor door

At the end of our ex­cur­si­on we vi­si­ted the nu­clear power plant in Gös­gen. We lear­ned a lot about the ad­van­ta­ges and dis­ad­van­ta­ges of nu­clear power as well as the dif­fe­rent re­ac­tor ge­nera­ti­ons and ty­pes. Switz­er­lan­d’s plans for fi­nal dis­po­sal and the pro­blems that ari­se were pre­sen­ted in a very clear and com­pre­hen­si­ble way.
The high­light, howe­ver, was the gui­ded tour through the power plant in small groups. For safe­ty re­a­sons we could not take anything with us into the power plant, so we could not take pic­tures. Ex­cept for the re­ac­tor its­elf, we could see ever­ything. From the coo­ling tower over the coo­ling cir­cuits up to the tur­bi­nes and the ge­ne­ra­tor. The most striking thing was how “ana­log” the con­trol cen­ter of the power plant is. Howe­ver, the re­a­sons for this are ma­ni­fold and understandable.
Switz­er­land pri­des its­elf on buil­ding par­ti­cu­lar­ly safe power plants, which is why we took a clo­ser look at the va­rious safe­ty me­cha­nisms and sys­tems. It was felt that the­re were at least 3 back­up so­lu­ti­ons for each system.

Nu­clear power plant Gösgen

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