Miniature particle accelerator



On January 23, students at J.B. Nelson Elementary gathered in the school’s library for their first ever reverse science fair. Rather than being graded on their own projects and experiments, first- through fifth-grade students had the chance to judge Fermilab physicists on the quality and “coolness” of their displays and demonstrations.

“I was inspired to have a partnership with Fermilab when I visited with my son for a robotics competition,” says J.B. Nelson Principal Nicole Prentiss. While at the event, she ran into Peter Shanahan, co-spokesperson for Fermilab’s NOvA experiment and a senior scientist at Fermilab, who offered to give them a crash course in how neutrinos are detected.

“He proceeded to blow my mind,” says Prentiss, who immediately began looking for ways to bring the science being done at Fermilab to her school.

Prentiss mentioned her idea for a collaboration at a Parent Teacher Organization meeting, which Fermilab engineering physicist Aria…



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