At a lot of events that I have been to, people are happy to learn that my husband works at CERN. I did not fully understand the reaction and was delighted when I finally had the chance to participate in the public tour that CERN offers almost daily.
CERN, the acronym in French for European Council for Nuclear Research, is a collaboration effort among scientists who are curious about the universe. The laboratory sits at the border between France and Switzerland, where the Genevoise can easily reach via Tram 18.
CERN is currently conducting various experiments which aim to discover the secrets of the universe. It does so by utilizing cutting-edge technology, the most famous being the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). LHC accelerates particles in its underground ring-shaped tunnel that is 27 km in circumference. When the particles reach approximately the speed of light, they are collided. The collisions then open the Pandora’s Box of the universe.
Tour of CERN
You can learn more about CERN and the experiments by joining the public tour they offer. What is more exciting is you can bring your kids along and they (and you yourself of course) can ask questions to the guide who is typically a scientist working there. The tour is 2-3 hours long and covers a brief Physics 101 lecture, historic tour of the CERN experiments, visit to the famous CERN globe which is an interactive science museum, and a holistic tour of one of their on-going experiments.
The globe and other permanent exhibitions can also be visited separately. All information can be found here: http://visit.cern/tours/guided-tours , including making a reservation.
If you have done the tour(s) before, I would like to suggest parents to look into S’Cool Lab: http://scool.web.cern.ch/. If you’re interested, bring the idea to your children’s teacher so they and their classmates can enjoy a day of sophisticated hands-on physics experiments at CERN itself!
Arts at CERN
If arts is your preference, CERN also has a program called Arts at CERN. Every year, selected artists spend time at CERN to deepen their understanding of how arts and science could communicate. Highlights of this program include art exhibitions and artists’ presenting what they learn throughout their residency. Events can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/ArtsatCERN/
For those interested to be a part of CERN in some other ways, check out their many clubs. Some CERN clubs are open to public. One example is the CERN Ski Club, the second largest ski club in Geneva. It also currently admits the largest amount of non-CERN members.
Another is the CERN Welcome Club (CWC). In fact, I just returned from one of its events early this month. I was surprised but very glad to find out that the CWC welcomes friends of members to join them. Members just need to bring the friends along to their Welcome Coffee held once a month. If they registered to become a member, they will even be given assistance to apply for CERN access card!
I have found that CERN is very open to sharing their discoveries and even space with the public. They take the task of increasing science literacy very seriously and invested a lot in it. With my own discovery of the various activities at CERN, I am excited that everyone can be a part of the organization in a closer proximity than merely the public tour.
So, if you would like to talk science or CERN, do not hesitate to ….
We are a group of international women living in Geneva, Switzerland. If you would like to join the AIWC, please visit our website at http://www.aiwcgeneva.org/