Medical Therapy with Particles and the Participation of the Particle Physics Club in the Particle Therapy Masterclass 2023 of CERN, Switzerland

One of the most important applications of Particle Physics is in Medicine: the treatment of malignant tumors includes directing beams of gamma radiation or particles (protons, electrons, positrons) toward a target tissue. 

Particle Physics is taught only in a few lessons at high schools, and the curriculum does not include any consistent overview of Medical Physics. This is why we at the American College of Sofia have been trying to give opportunities to our students to get familiar with some practices as well as to be exposed to ideas and science achievements in the field of Medical Physics.

On 10 February 2023, ACS students Ema Yaneva 10/3, Valeria Topalova 8/6, Lyudmila Kaneva 10/3, Yoana Ilcheva 11/3, Desislava Markova 11/4, Meriem Fereva 11/3, Yana Boneva 11/4, Samuil Dimitrov 8/2, Kalina Duncheva 12/7, Vladislav Natchev 9/1 from the Particle Physics Club took part in the Particle Therapy Masterclass, 2023, organized by IPOGG (CERN), Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and Sofia University. The event was held with the kind hospitality of Sofia Tech Park.

The students from several cities and schools in Sofia listened to the intriguing lecture on the use of beams for cancer treatment by Prof. Leander Litov (Sofia University, CERN), to get familiar with the ENLIGHT Virtual Particle Therapy Center and did a hands-on session on the use of the specialized software lead by Associate Prof. Borislav Pavlov (Sofia University, CERN). Then, the students had the opportunity to do a virtual visit round the ALICE detector thanks to Ms. Despina Hatzifotiadou who took us to more than 50 m underground and showed the facilities of the experiment. 

In the afternoon the students did practice work using data from the ALICE experiment. 

The last part of the Masterclass included a video conference with other student participants from other countries, a fun kahoot game and a summary discussion of the data results by several scientists at CERN. 

At the end of the day all students were tired but pleased and inspired by everything they had learned and most of all by the opportunity to meet and talk with scientists in the field of Particle and High Energy Physics. 

- Silvia Rousseva, Advisor, Particle Physics club 

Here are some photos from the event: