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The winners of the French Physics Olympiad 2022 visit SOLEIL

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On Thursday 9 and Friday 10 June 2022, SOLEIL welcomed a group of six high school students from the Albert Schweitzer high school in Toulouse and their two physics teachers for a special visit. 

These students, who are passionate about physics, have been working all year on their "Over the Rainbow" project. Their presentation at the University of Paris-Saclay in January during the national final of the French Physics Olympiad enabled them to win the first prize: two days at SOLEIL! 

The winners and their teachers, accompanied by Floriane Bernardini (right), a teacher made available at SOLEIL by the Rectorat de Versailles .

They were given the opportunity to visit the different facilities of SOLEIL. They were welcomed by Philippe Berteaud from the Magnetisms & Insertion Devices group, who showed them different magnets and insertion devices used in the accelerators, and explained them how the synchrotron produces its light: a dive into the bowels of the machine, or almost.

A guided tour of the SMIS beamline by Ferenc Borondics allowed them to discover how this light was used. Finally, they had a relaxing time at the educational workshop on chemical elements and the periodic table. They ended their stay in Paris with a visit to the physics laboratories of the Ecole Normale Supérieure d'Ulm.

After exploring the properties of light and its interaction with water drops, this prize was made for them! They left with this comment from their teachers praising SOLEIL's pedagogical efforts: "It was not easy, for example, to make final year school pupils understand the role of quadrupole and sextupole magnets, and yet they did it!”