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“Collider Diaries” web series receives prestigious SCINEMA Festival award

Collider diaries
(Image: CERN)

CERN research made waves at the 22nd edition of SCINEMA, the largest science film festival in the southern hemisphere, which takes place in Adelaide, Australia. Established in 2000, SCINEMA attracts hundreds of entries from across the world, including from some of the world’s most respected popular science creators and documentary directors. An episode of “Collider Diaries”, a series created by the Future Circular Collider (FCC) collaboration and Terra Mater Studios with the support of the H2020 MSCA EASITrain project, won the Best Online Format award at last week’s edition of the festival.

The Collider Diaries follow five young scientists involved in the FCC study, portraying their motivations, inspiration and personal journey as they strive to make the ambitious scientific project a reality. The short films take a behind-the-scenes look at Dorothea, Vanessa, Maxime, Alice and Aisha, who share their personal insights about science and their work for the FCC, and reflect on the lessons learned from participating in a global collaboration and the processes that lead to the birth of new ideas. Premiered in summer 2021, the first episode, “Unvarnished diaries of a CERN scientist – working on the biggest science experiment ever”, features Dorothea Fonnesu, a physicist currently working at CERN’s Central Cryogenic Laboratory.

As with any major scientific endeavour, the success of the FCC project will depend on honest and transparent communication with peers and the general public. Besides generating countless particles, the FCC will also generate a trove of human stories, and the Collider Diaries aim to capture and share these stories from the project’s outset. In the words of Markus Mooslechner, executive producer of the project at Terra Mater Studios: “Their stories, who they are and how they came to do what they do, are very personal. By focusing on the individuals, we try to get to the heart of their backgrounds and motivations for doing science – because it's usually personal dedication and commitment that drives science to excellence.” The Collider Diaries capture the five scientists’ technical expertise alongside their human experience, to engage a wider audience around the globe.

Courses in communication delivered by Terra Mater Studios and CERN’s Education, Communications and Outreach group have proved key to the success of the shooting and production of the Collider Diaries. This emphasis on communication training, driven by the EASITrain project, helped the film-makers develop innovative solutions to overcome the travel restrictions in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and to keep production sustainable (the series is certified under the UZ76 Green Producing criteria of the Austrian Ecolabel).

The SCINEMA award crowns months of creative work and is testament to the success of the Collider Diaries in sparking the interest of non-scientific audiences in the FCC project’s technological challenges and the internal life of the collaboration. Following this success, Terra Mater Studios have become involved with the H2020 FCCIS design study to find novel ways of sharing stories from the daily activities of the collaboration.

Tune in for more Collider Diaries episodes here.