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CERN surprises Swiss expo visitors

CERN was the guest of honour at the Automnales, Geneva’s huge annual fair: ten days of encounters and exchanges with the general public.


CERN surprises Swiss expo visitors

In the middle of the exhibition hall, visitors to the grand fair in Geneva could immerse themselves, in the underground of science, visiting the large LHC accelerator and one of its experiments. (Image: Julien Ordan, Maximilien Brice/CERN)

In between a fondue tasting and trying out a reclining armchair, visitors to Geneva’s big annual fair, the Automnales had the chance to immerse themselves for a few minutes in the world of fundamental science. CERN was the guest of honour at this unmissable regional event, held from 10 to 19 November. It was an excellent opportunity for us to go out and meet members of the public who might never have thought to visit a research laboratory otherwise. 

The CERN stand was designed to resemble a particle collision, at the centre of which visitors could take a virtual-reality tour. Around this workshops, film screenings, games and interactive screens were offered. CERN volunteers explained the research, its technologies and its applications to visitors. (Image: Maximilien Brice, Julien Ordan)

Some 172 volunteers from CERN presented science in an entertaining way to visitors at the Automnales. Some 145 000 people attended the fair, and most of them stopped at the CERN stand, which was in a prime location in the middle of the hall.

The stand covered 1000 square meters and was designed to resemble a particle collision. Guests young and old had the chance to take a virtual-reality tour of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and one of its detectors, to learn how to conduct physics experiments using household objects, to marvel at shows about electricity and the cold, to play proton football, to programme robots and to travel through a tunnel taking them back in time to the Big Bang. Most importantly, they met CERN’s enthusiastic researchers, engineers, technicians and administrative employees, who were all delighted to share their passion for research. In short, ten days of enriching discoveries, meetings and exchanges.

For more information and pictures of the event, read this article.

For ten days, CERN was guest of honour at the Automnales, the annual trade fair in Geneva. (Video: Jacques Fichet/CERN)