Previously confined to aircraft hangars and anonymous buildings, the European Center for Nuclear Research, near Geneva, Switzerland, has just opened the Science Gateway, a new center for its visitors that will quickly become an icon. Details from Arnaud Marsullier, CERN spokesperson.
With two tube-shaped lounges, the bright white main ship could be reminiscent of an airport terminal or the International Space Station (ISS). It is the star Italian architect Renzo Piano, architect of the Pompidou Center in Paris, who designed these new 8,000 square meters of suspended above-ground spaces. These long spaces are also reminiscent of the 27-kilometre-circumference tunnel, buried here 100 meters underground, a replica of which has been installed in the new visitor centre.
“Science portal It looks like these tubes that we have under our feet, the particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, The Frenchman, Arnaud Marsullier, the official spokesman for… CERN. With this building, Renzo Piano wanted to reproduce the technical and industrial display of the existing buildings at CERN, or underground experiments, to make them accessible to the public on the surface, even when the particle accelerator is in operation.
Inside this new “Science Gateway”, five fun and connected spaces, touch screens for children from five years old and their parents, physics enthusiasts or beginners, workshops for everyone, a laboratory for self-fulfillment experiments, permanent exhibitions, a large amphitheater, a shop and a restaurant, all connected by a bridge. Pedestrian worth the movie “star Wars.”
“It’s a bridge that allows you to explore different spaces, The Frenchman explains. In these tubes, we have interactive exhibits, to discover the history of the universe, the quantum world and its very strange properties, which do not work at all like our everyday reality.
For example, we can play quantum tennis, where the ball’s trajectory follows surprising rules.
The big bang and antimatter
This new equipment also plays an environmentally friendly role with more than 2,000 square meters of solar panels and 400 trees planted on the site, making it a carbon neutral building.
The project was funded entirely by donations, and its cost amounted to the equivalent of 100 million euros. It was at CERN that the current version of the Internet was invented in 1989. Tim Berners-Lee, a British researcher, designed and developed his project so that scientists from universities around the world could exchange information instantly. Here we are talking about the big bang, the collider, and antimatter.
Beyond new “Science Portal”The peculiarity of CERN is that you can visit the facilities themselves. These are former in-house engineers who visit, such as Frenchman André Rubio, who spent his entire career at CERN in the accelerator department, and who has been retired since 2004.
It receives visitors, especially young people and teenagers: “They have not only questions, but answers too, He says. Because with sci-fi movies and parallel worlds, they already know it, they’ve seen all this stuff. “We are trying to find basic equations related to their explanations.”
Entrance to the site is free, but visits offered in thirty different languages take place in small groups and it is impossible to book. You should come and try your luck there on the big day. CERN is actually the first site visited in Geneva. Its goal is to eventually welcome 500,000 visitors a year, compared to 150,000 before Covid.
the CERNEuropean Center for Nuclear Research.
the new Science portal.
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