Dr. Harry Cliff (University of Cambridge & Science Museum, London)
On 12th November 2013 the Science Museum in London launched Collider, a major temporary exhibition about the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. The launch event was attended by Peter Higgs, Stephen Hawking, Rolf Heuer and the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer and attracted significant media attention and critical praise in the UK and internationally. By the time the exhibition completes its London run it will have attracted over 50,000 paying visitors and from May 2014 begins an international tour to museums in Europe, Asia and Australia. Developed with the support of CERN and targeted at a general audience, the exhibition uses techniques from theatre, video art and exhibition design to create the atmosphere of a visit to CERN, with the aim of engaging the public with the science, engineering and day-to-day reality of work at the LHC. Visitors are led through a series of theatrical reconstruction of spaces at CERN, including the main auditorium on the day the Higgs boson discovery was announced, the LHC tunnel and even the 1970s offices where much of the data analysis takes place. Authentic artefacts including superconducting magnets, components of the four main LHC experiments and a champagne bottle drank by Peter Higgs are set in context, telling physics, engineering and human stories. The exhibition also brings the community of CERN to life, through a dramatic re-imagining of events leading to the discovery of the Higgs boson and authentic video and audio recordings of engineers and physicists working on the LHC. We will present an account of the development of the exhibition, the new approaches used to engage the public with particle physics and the results of the audience research that has been conducted during the London run.
Prof. Valerie Gibson (University of Cambridge)