Toesspraak van de VS Consul Generaal voor de ‘Patrticle Peers’


Woensdag 23 oktober hadden 'The Partical Peers' de sponsoren en VIP's van Beamline-for-schools bij DESY in Hamburg over de vloer. Onder andere Mr. Akins (Consul General of the U.S), Mr. Schelvis (Nederlands ambassade, Department for Innovation, Technology and Science) en Mr. Schuiling (Burgemeester van Groningen). Lees hieronder de toespraak die hij gaf.  Meer lezen over het avontuur in Hamburg: lees hier hun blog.

Bl4S (Beamline for schools) kunt volgen: met leuke foto's in


Dear “Beamline for Schools” competition winners from the Netherlands and the United States, 

I am very happy to be here today for my first visit to DESY. What better occasion than today’s event, which celebrates the next generation of scientists. 

Yes, Teams “DESY Chain” and “Particle Peers”: that is YOU! CONGRATULATIONS! This is a big deal! I want you take a look around this room: we have all come here to honor you and your accomplishments. This is all about you.

You are on Hamburg’s DESY campus to carry out your proposed experiments. Moreover, you will have the extraordinary opportunity to work with renowned DESY und CERN scientists. Both institutions exemplify and thrive on international scientific cooperation. You can relate to this: you won this competition because of your individual talents and skills, but equally because of your commitment to your teams and collaborative teamwork. Scientific research is no solitary experience that takes place in isolation - even though long hours in the lab might sometimes make it seem as if it is.  However, we all know it is a shared experience, and is one based on individual drive and determination.

You have come to Hamburg as high school teams. By the time you return to your home countries and schools, you will realize that you belong to a much larger and international team. You are part of a global community of young scientists who share your passion, your curiosity, your ambition, and your talents. As you pursue your careers, you will find that your peers from Hamburg will be your future colleagues and collaborators. And you will benefit tremendously from the connections you have forged here. BTW: The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physics was just awarded to three scientists; two of whom have worked together for decades. Did I just raise the bar for you by mentioning the Nobel Prize?! I don’t think so. Because you have set the bar high for yourselves. You would not be here otherwise. I encourage you to continue to challenge yourself and endeavor to better yourself and your talents.  A better tomorrow depends on it.

I am sure that this experience will inspire you to further pursue your dreams and goals. You are future leaders and agents of change. As innovators, you will have an impact on society because of your infectious enthusiasm for science. I encourage you to share your knowledge, your passion, and your insights with your peers at West High School in Salt Lake City and Praedinius Gymnasium in Groningen, and with others in your communities. You have relied on support networks: on your peers, your families, your teachers, your schools, and on other resources. You have enjoyed mentorship, guidance, and role models. I ask you to become mentors in your right. Maybe to struggling students who are lacking support or confidence.  If you do not do it, then who will do it?

This reminds me of Ms. Nobles from Nichols Junior High School in Arlington, Texas.  The city in which I grew up.  You don’t know her personally, but you know teachers like her. Ms. Nobles was my 8th grade math teacher. I know you might not be able to relate, but math was my weakest subject.  Moreover, I had given up on math because I felt that math had given up on me. It was Ms. Nobles who convinced me that I had the ability to be successful in math. She was a source of constant encouragement.  Without her, I would have never gained the self-confidence to study trigonometry and calculus – putting me on the advanced track for my high school graduation. But I did, because of a caring, supportive math teacher.  So here is to all the Ms. Nobles out there.

So, I would like to give a special shout-out to your teachers. They are your mentors and cheerleaders. They make you work hard and motivate you to keep going when you are dealing with the inevitable setbacks: when your experiments fail and you have to start from scratch and rethink your assumptions and ideas, they support and encourage you to keep striving.

Pay it forward, however.  As you’ve been supported, I encourage you to be ambassadors of science and mentors.  Encourage others to be not only excited about science, but also about the importance of it.

As a diplomat, I don‘t know much about physics. Please don’t quiz me about particles and scintillators. I leave that to you, the experts. But I do know about the importance and the impact of international collaboration. Every major challenge we face as humans has a global dimension, and we can only solve it jointly – together, collaboratively, cooperatively. 

Thank you to CERN and DESY, and to all sponsors and supporters for making this experience possible. Teams “DESY Chain” and “Particle Peers”: I commend you and congratulate you on your success. I know we will hear a great deal about you and your accomplishments in the future.


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