If you thought CERN, the renowned particle physics research facility in Geneva, was just for Nobel laureates and PhD’s, think again. The facility has inaugurated Science Gateway, a new, visionary hub with free admission for anyone from 5 to 95 to get involved in the next generation of human understanding of the universe at what may be the world’s most famous science facility.
CERN’s Science Gateway is an architectural achievement as well as providing a new level of access to the high degree of high science at CERN beginning in the fall of 2023.
Designed with tubes that appear to be suspended in space evoking the cutting-edge CERN particle accelerators, Science Gateway is both a real and a symbolic bridge between visitors and science.
An actual glass bridge links the different parts of Science Gateway while also allowing researchers and children, visitors and physicists, tourists and scientists to encounter each other in person - all driven by curiosity and the thirst for knowledge.
In a literal and figurative way, the glass bridge opens up a connection and visibility between scientists and ordinary people interested in how science can be used to create a better future. And it’s a metaphor for young people to connect to careers in science and technology.
Not the worst experience for families to sandwich between chocolate, cheese and alpine pursuits on a trip to Switzerland!
There are already education and outreach programs at CERN, but Science Gateway will let even the youngest visitors discover their inner scientist and the secrets of the universe. Hands-on education labs, immersive, multi-media exhibits, science shows and guided tours will let visitors experience places where science is done.
Hundreds of CERN guides, drawn from actual CERN personnel, will share the wonders of particle physics with up to half a million visitors from around the world every year.
Exhibits, shows, and hands-on workshops give the young and young-at-heart different paths and approaches to understanding the concepts being studied at CERN.
· Discover CERN: Peek behind the scenes at the Laboratory, to find out how scientists study particles. On one side of the exhibition, explore CERN's particle accelerators; on the other, discover how giant experiments record particle collisions and how a global network of computers processes the data.
· Our Universe: Through the language of art, visitors travel back in time 13.8 billion years to discover the journey particles took to become everything in the universe, and forward into the many mysteries in the universe that scientists seek to answer.
· Quantum World: Become a particle and experience our world at the very smallest of scales. Engage in whimsical activities, such as quantum tennis and quantum karaoke, and discover how quantum phenomena have consequences on our daily lives.
Science shows are theatre-like performances with exciting experiments and interactive activities. Currently, five shows are presented: It's just a Phase, Journey through the Detector, Seize the Data, Magical Physics Party, and Proton Express.
Hands-on lab workshops are conducted for school students and for the general public, including in English, and are an ideal way to discover what it is like to be a scientist or engineer at CERN.
Nearly a dozen workshops are designed to intrigue, impress, and stimulate curiosity, fromCloud Chamber, Slimy Detectors, Programming with Ozobots, Magnet Challenge, Seeing the Invisible, LEGO Robotic Challenge, The Power of Air, Positron Emission Tomography, Superconductivity, and Electron Beams to a LEGO Detector Challenge.
The 100-million Swiss franc project was entirely funded through donations, and CERN’s Science Gateway is a model of sustainability. It’s surrounded by acres of trees and shrubs, with thousands of solar panels generating energy for the building and other CERN facilities, and it has a net-zero carbon footprint during operations.
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Images courtesy of CERN
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