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David Schmitz | Fermilab | USA

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meeting with student tour groups

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting with a group of 8th graders from a local middle school.  They were visiting the lab on a field trip and, as is custom for tours, arrangements were made near the end of their visit to meet with an employee from the lab – this time me.   I do this once or twice a month and many other people at the lab participate as well, as there are many tour groups that visit Fermilab.

It’s not a presentation, but rather a Question & Answer session, so it requires no preparation on my part other than to be in the right room at the right time.  The free form of these sessions, I think, is what makes it so much fun for me.  This week I was asked everything from how long I had to go to school to do my job here (that one always gets their attention!) to whether the protons and antiprotons make any sound when they collide at such high energy.  I mean, that’s a really great question!  I usually have to be coerced by the tour docents to stop taking questions 10 minutes past the allotted time.  I think they remind me a little why I ultimately wanted to become a scientist in the first place – there are so many great questions out there to be answered – and I always come away from these sessions feeling refreshed and enthusiastic.  That’s a pretty remarkable result from a 30 minute session squeezed into a packed schedule between lunch and some afternoon meeting.  I only hope the students get a fraction of what I do out of our brief discussions.

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