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Science 101: Higgs-kun’s first day at his new school

| 1 October 2015

The Japanese ILC mascot “Higgs-kun” – a ghost-like representing the Higgs particle with a permanent tear in its eye – has its own YouTube video. The 25-minute-long video introduces not only Higgs-kun but also the ILC at the possible Kitakami mountains site. After the summer vacations the students are back in class and their teacher brings the new student Higgs-kun to the class. There is more news to talk about than the new student: there is a plan to build the ILC near their homes. So the question is now what is the ILC? The kids wonder if this another kind of train like the Shinkansen trains. Luckily their teacher has most of the answers for them.

So he explains to them what the ILC is with many illustrations and easy comparisons. Is that all? Not really, a brief history is also part of the short lesson, as are the partners of the project. Not to forget what it means for Kitakami if the ILC would be built there. The students are very concerned about the region, the visitors and what good this machine would bring. All these points are addressed in a short and understandable way. And of course the why: why do we want to build this huge machine. Can we really understand the birth of the universe? And what other things could we learn from it?

There are many answers in this short video and it is not necessary to be a physicist to be able to follow all of them. On the contrary – many important questions are answered in an understandable and amusing way, which is just as well as it was produced for primary schoolchildren. Many comparisons with day to day life things are used to illustrate the more abstract topic. Have a look for yourself!

The Higgs-kun video is a project from the Iwate Prefectural Government to introduce the basics of the ILC to children who will be adults when the ILC comes to fruition. The production of the whole video took 3 months and 500 DVD copies were made. Most of the copies were distributed in elementary schools in Iwate Prefecture. Other copies are used in many ILC lectures. “The reactions to the character of Higgs-kun were positive and most children find him very cute. We also heard that the DVD video is easy to understand,” states the Iwate Prefectural Government representative. “We would really appreciate if people around the world watch the youtube video so that more people will learn about and gain interest in the ILC.” So far there are no plans to make more videos like this one but the Iwate Prefectural Government has just launched an English newsletter about Iwate/Tohoku and its efforts towards the ILC.

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