SCIENTISTS and teachers laid bare the mysteries behind the Large Hadron Collider for visually impaired students.

Youngsters headed to Eden Boys School in Bolton to take part in the Tactile Collider event — a project aiming to make the physics of particle accelerators and the Higgs Boson more accessible.

As well as being able to touch a scale model of the collider at the event on Wednesday, teachers also talked about how the structure works and what they were trying to discover.

Robyn Wilson, a teacher at Bolton Sensory Support Service, is a consultant on the project and said the initiative was ‘exciting’.

She said: “This is massive. All of the older people who have already gone through the school system have all said they wished there had been something like this when they were at school.

“Even if it just piques their interest, it still makes it really important that something like this can be made accessible.”

The project was started by Rob Appleby, from the University of Manchester and Chris Edmonds from University of Liverpool, who both work at the Cockroft Institute.

It is described as a ‘fully interactive and immersive’ experience aiming to show students that science is a viable career and study option and that their visual impairment isn’t a barrier to accessing learning.

The project has also been featured on Radio 4’s In Touch programme.

Dr Appleby said: “We wanted to ensure we were creating an experience that was right for our audience, and to do that it was really critical for us to talk to our audience.”

Dr Edmonds said the team had to think ‘carefully’ about the amount of information that could be presented and which methods they could use to communicate it effectively.

He said: “Vision allows us to take in a vast amount of information at any one time. If you can’t see, building up the same information using tools like tactile maps can be time consuming.”

Kirin Saeed is visually impaired and works as an audio description and visual impairment consultant.

She said: “What is exciting for me is that blind and visually impaired people really are at the heart of this project. I’ve been consulting on this process from the beginning, and while it’s been challenging it’s also been really rewarding.”

“Science is often regarded as a ‘no-no’ for blind and partially sighted people, particularly when it comes to complex ideas. I think getting people to try it, and believe they can do it, is just brilliant.”