On 1 August 2018, CERN was the City of Geneva’s guest of honour at the Swiss National Day celebrations at Parc La Grange.
The CERN tent, offering workshops, virtual reality tours, physics demonstrations, educational games and the new “Particle Identities” quiz, was never empty from 1 p.m. to 8.30 p.m. Many thousands of visitors had the opportunity to learn about CERN’s activities. The events were enjoyed by young and old, experts and novices – in short, a hugely diverse audience.
The theme of Mayor Sami Kanaan’s mandate, "Challenges in digitalisation", was the inspiration for many of the events organised by CERN, which, as the birthplace of the World Wide Web, has long been a key voice on that theme. Genevans learned how to program computers and robots at two continuous workshops. They also visited the CERN Data Centre, a living monument to the digital age, using virtual reality headsets.
Nearly forty CERN volunteers represented their laboratory with panache, perfectly adapting their explanations of their daily activities to the general public. From analysis of particle collisions through a "Connect the dots" activity to "fun with physics" demonstrations featuring the properties of magnets and vacuum bells, and ATLAS experiment colouring for the little ones, the events were a dazzling blend of entertainment and science outreach!
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