A new era of physics has begun! Here’s your handy guide to seeing the invisible, thanks to CERN’s Cian O’Luanaigh.
One of CERN’s artists in residence has recently exhibited his physics-inspired installation in London to mixed reviews. What do you think?
Ryoji Ikeda’s work, Supersymmetry, opened up an interesting debate about the relationship between art and science. Simon George (RHUL and ATLAS) and Tom Melia (CERN) were two of the researchers who helped the artist get to grips with CERN’s research programme, and you can read about their experience in UKNFC 47.
It’s rare that an academic paper about CERN is about something other than physics, but one of the latest papers focuses on the cultural significance and social archaeology of the organization through an exploration of its physical layout, buildings and features.
David Jenkins (York and ISOLDE) and John Schofield explored every aspect of CERN in their effort to understand the physical and metaphysical landscape. They looked at the social and cultural significance of everything from the shape of the lampposts (specially designed for CERN) to the choice of names for the roads (named after leading scientists).
As Head of Archaeology at the University of York, John is used to appraising a landscape but for David, this was a new experience. His visits to CERN are normally restricted to just a few intensive days of beam time in the ISOLDE facility, conferences or specific meetings. What prompted him to get involved?
“The approach came from John,” explains David. “He wanted to talk about context of time in archaeology and physics, then we batted around ideas and fixed on doing something concrete which was to make this study related to CERN. John had looked at similar vintage sites including old Cold War installations.”
It’s the first time that David has been an author on a non-physics academic paper. “I didn’t realise that archaeology could apply to the modern past or indeed still active sites. I also didn’t know that it could be more about “landscapes” and human use of sites, not just old bones and mummies… I always had an interest in archaeology though since I was a kid. In fact, it was probably my second choice to physics as a career.”
Many of John and David’s observations contrast the mundane nature of the buildings and offices with the extraordinary discoveries and technical developments that have been made within them – if you have ever visited the corridor where the World Wide Web was first developed, you’ll understand!
The fieldwork gave David an opportunity to see a different side of CERN, “I had never noticed all the interesting period features like the lamp-posts, old telephones. I also didn’t see the site in terms of obsolescence and things building up over time with buildings changing use and function. It also made me think more about how the site would be seen by non-scientists and gave me a totally fresh perspective.”
Their conclusion? CERN is “a landscape of fascinations and contradictions laden with memory and meaning.”
‘A Journey to the Heart of the Matter: The Physical and Metaphysical Landscapes of CERN’ is published in Landscapes.
Bringing industry partners on board early is vital and right now there are lots of opportunities for UK companies.
The lead time for upgrades or new science projects can be tens of years. To extend its discovery potential, the LHC will need a major upgrade to increase its luminosity (the rate of collisions) by a factor of 10 beyond the original design specification. This project, called HL-LHC or more colloquially HiLumi, is scheduled to take place around 2020.
The project leaders are looking for industry partners to work with CERN to explore the technical and commercial challenges emerging from the upgraded LHC accelerator design, and to match them with state-of-the-art industrial solutions. Particular areas of interest are superconductivity, cryogenics, power electronics, electrical engineering and mechanics.
The ‘HiLumi LHC goes to Industry’ event on 25-26 June aims to connect CERN with potential industrial partners and foster R&D collaborations and knowledge exchange.
Working with CERN can frequently open up new markets for companies and you can read more about how one UK company has benefited in UKNFC 21.
The UK’s Industrial Liaison Team of Julie Bellingham, Allanah Bayliss and Alan Silverman are actively seeking more opportunities for UK companies and can provide practical help and advice to companies planning to tender for any contracts at CERN.
As a first step, any company wanting to work with CERN should contact Tender Opportunities.
A new lab gives schools the chance to do real science as part of their CERN visit.
S’Cool Lab is an inspirational new facility for teaching modern physics. Full of the latest kit, students can carry out a range of hands-on experiments that will lead to a practical understanding of key equations, laws, phenomena and concepts, led by CERN physicists and engineers.
Aimed at high school students aged 16-19, S’Cool Lab is the ideal way to extend and enhance a visit to CERN and must be booked in advance.
Comprehensive background information on UK school visits to CERN (including teaching resources to prepare your students and more opportunities to add inspirational STEM content of your visit to Geneva) is available through STFC.