For my recent trip to Switzerland with my dad, I arranged for a private tour of CERN. According to their website, “At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. They use the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter – the fundamental particles. The particles are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives the physicists clues about how the particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature.” We had visited their Microcosm Exhibit a few years ago – but the private tour offered chance to see some of CERN’s inner workings.
Here’s what you get for the tour:
- a twenty minute video describing the 50th anniversary of CERN – ten years ago.
- a guided tour of the ATLAS Research Center (which is comprised of 4 exhibits and a control room)
- another 3D movie that explains the ATLAS project
While this was all very interesting, it was also very disappointing. We had hoped that we would be able to see part of the accelerator or some additional aspect of CERN’s work. Our guide, who was a researcher at CERN, told us no one gets to go see the accelerator, not even him. I asked one of the school group’s there if they go to see anything more than the exhibit and they said no.
So I’d give the tour a 5. I had the experience of being there but left wanting more.