The tale of two tunnels: bringing physics to life in Liverpool

12 October 2018

The University of Liverpool has launched a new project to connect residents to the world-class science taking place on their doorsteps, and to tell them more about their city’s work with particle accelerators.

The Tale of Two Tunnels will be a unique science trail, telling the story of a particle accelerator built in Liverpool.

Going underground

When many people think about particle accelerators, they immediately think about CERN and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) which is famed for being housed in a circular tunnel deep below Geneva.

Liverpool is home to its own tunnel, albeit smaller, in the shape of the Wirral Line loop - making it the perfect place for the story to unfold. The four stations on the loop line mirror the four detectors on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. The detectors are where particles collide and where physicists examine them to discover more about the nature of our Universe.

Over the coming months the University of Liverpool is delivering events in schools and community settings to introduce the project to local communities. Academics and physics students will tell the story of accelerators by drawing parallels between the tunnels of the Large Hadron Collider and Wirral Line loop. Participants will then be able to put forward their own ideas of what they think the exhibition should include.

The best ideas will be shared with the project artist to incorporate into her designs for the exhibition.

The trail is due to open in summer 2019, and it will bring to life the idea of an accelerator in Liverpool city centre. Scattered over six venues, each highlighting a different element of the accelerator process, the trail will cover:

  • Wirral Loop line stations. Each of the four stations will represent the four detectors of the Large Hadron Collider, and each will focus on a different area of physics
  • The World Museum – transforming an area into the accelerator control room and looking at how accelerators are used in medicine
  • Victoria Gallery and Museum – tracking the history of accelerators and Liverpool’s contributions

You will be able to visit the sites for a whole year, viewing the exhibitions and picking up items to make your own model accelerator along the way.

Get involved

As well as sessions in schools and local communities, the University of Liverpool are hosting one of our ever popular Talking Science events on the 25 October. Drs Chris Edmonds, Barry King and Laura Harkness-Brennan will be joined by the FACT learning team to talk about particle accelerators and their amazing applications in the real world, and getting audience members to join in with a workshop to help imagine what the exhibits will look like. Booking opens for the event from the 13 September. Find out more, including how to book, online.

The Tale of Two Tunnels project is part-funded by an STFC public engagement grant.

Last updated: 15 October 2018

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