Introducing cutting-edge accelerator science to school children

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School students at outreach event.

Public engagement lies at the heart of the University of Liverpool’s Quantum Systems and advanced Accelerator Research (QUASAR) Group. Their wide-ranging outreach activities take an imaginative approach to make the benefits of accelerator research fascinating and understandable.

Accelerator research is of great value to science, society and industry, but this technology does not traditionally feature in mainstream media, nor is it part of school curricula. The Group’s outreach activities and strategic communication have engaged millions of people around the globe, improving public awareness about particle accelerators and their applications.

Building on the success of the innovative ‘Physics of Star Wars’ events, the QUASAR Group recently published three articles in Science in School Issue 54 and Issue 55 to support teachers in the delivery of their STEM curricula and to introduce cutting-edge accelerator science to school students. The articles first give a general introduction to accelerator science, before moving to the use of augmented reality to explain a number of frequently used concepts and proton beam therapy as one of the main societal applications of accelerators.

Star Wars characters with light saber

Issue 54 - Inspire article: The physics of Star Wars: introducing accelerator science

Science fiction can be an engaging starting point for scientific discussions. Learn how one research group is using Star Wars to introduce students to accelerator science.


Star Wars characters using acceleratAR, the virtual accelerator app.

Issue 54 - Teach Article: Build your own virtual accelerator

Build your own virtual particle accelerator with the aid of the acceleratAR app and gain a hands-on, immersive understanding of how these machines work.


Star Wars characters with light saber

Issue 55 - Understand Article: Death Star or cancer tumour: proton torpedoes reach the target

A real-life version of proton torpedoes, popularized in Star Wars, offer an alternative to radiotherapy for the treatment of cancer.


Science in School is published and funded by EIROforum, a collaboration between eight of Europe’s largest inter-governmental scientific research organizations. The journal is a non-profit project and is hosted by the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany.

The journal supports science teaching across Europe and across disciplines: highlighting the best in teaching and cutting-edge research. The contents include classroom experiments and teaching materials, up-to-date information on cutting-edge science and real-world applications, projects in science education, and other useful resources for science teachers.

By sharing these teaching resources through Science in School, the QUASAR Group hopes that more teachers will incorporate Star Wars into physics teaching and that many more pupils will be inspired to expand their knowledge about accelerator science.