They were guided through the target stations and around the instruments by much praised staff volunteers from all across ISIS.
To add to the excitement (and the work of ISIS staff!), the BBC were assembling set on top of the proton beam on Wednesday for the filming of a documentary on the sun on Thursday and Friday evenings. Even though it was looking challenging at times, with 50 students, hundreds of metres of cabling and BBC crew all packed in the TS2 foyer before the tours commenced, the whole event ran smoothly.
Speaking to some of the students, I was able to gauge their thoughts on ISIS and the event as a whole. “Industrial”, “Impressive”, “Noisy” and “I wasn’t expecting it to be so large!” were some of the comments I received when asking the students what their first impressions of the target stations were.
A-level students from Bartholomew School, Eynsham are shown the sample area of TS1 instrument, LOQ by Scott Lawrie (ISIS)
I was told the tours were just right in terms of timings, with ample time to wander through the target stations and stop along the way for questions and explanations.
One student in particular, from Stanbridge Earls School in Hampshire beamed when he reported back, “the guide gave a very good description on some of the applications of ISIS, talking about different mechanical aspects, biosciences, and about Rolls Royce testing their airplane structures.”
Having preconceptions that all the work done at ISIS would be Physics-based, he was pleasantly surprised at the broad range of research conducted using neutrons, reaching from Chemistry and Biology to Archaeology and Engineering.
The guide mentioned the placement programme available at ISIS for university students, and when I asked the student whether or not he would consider it he said “it would be an offer I certainly wouldn't refuse!”