Six years ago I stayed up all night to watch the announcement from CERN that was rumored to be about the Higgs boson. I ordered a particle physics textbook that night, having never taken a formal class that went beyond a general historical approach.
Particle physics had always sounded interesting. I increased my participation in QuarkNet, brought particle physics into my physics classes for my students, and a year later I spent a week studying at Fermilab.
Now, six years later, I attend lectures in the very hall where CERN scientists broadcast their discovery to the world, learning from scientists involved then and now in pushing the forefront of knowledge in physics.
I have had the good fortune to spend five of the last six summers working with scientists and students at KU doing particle physics research and projects.
And I have had the immense fortune of meeting many physics teachers around the US and the world who share a passion for physics, learning, and teaching.
I could not have dreamed twelve years ago when I started my teaching journey what amazing opportunities I would find. I’m a little more in awe of it every day. And while this (first?) visit to CERN seems like a pinnacle of experience, I can’t help but wonder what the next six years could bring.
Happy Higgs Day!