Thursday, 11 August 2016

A trip to CERN, Science, Innovation and Open Source.

So.. Been on holiday and toured around Europe taking in 9 countries and doing about 2600 miles over 3 weeks.. lovely! One highlight that is geeky enough to warrant a blogpost is I got a quick trip in to CERN just north of Geneva. As I had the kids with me the 4 hour tour was out of the question but the 2 visitors centres (mikrocosmos and the Innovation Sphere) where definitely do able... and they were brilliant. One of my best parts was chatting to an amazing guide ( a particle physicist who did shifts in the visitors centre and was FULL of passion) and in particular we talked about CERN and open source, prompted by me mentioning using Kicad which CERN have used and developed and shared back into the community, he spoke at length about numerous complex high end software/systems that CERN has done this with and affirmed in me that across the vast majority of the huge complex that is CERN and LHC and ALICE and  ATLAS and CMS an open source attitude prevailed. It was reaffirmed later in the trip wen you stand in front of a console that shows in realtime the data flow mapped over the world that is CONSTANTLY being streamed to hundreds of recipients around the world. Inspiring... I used to alway say that the ISS is mankinds greatest technological achievement... but darn... CERN is a close call...

Here are many pictures!....

Cloud chamber (refrigerated alcohol vapours) that captured and rendered visible particles passing through it.. cosmis radiation and muons etc! Kids loved this!

As well as great renderred and interactive diplay activities lots of real time data was on screen from the LHC.

All cryo pumps green!

Great virtual tour where you could steer yourself flowing through the particle accelerator and the 3 main experiments en route.. Photo's don't do it justice!

More live data

Live power use... blimey!

Outside there was a selection of pieces of kit... such amazing engineering and machining in these, beautiful. The above was a big RF chamber

The Gargamelle bubble chamber... revealed to humanity some neutrino secrets.

An amazing piston... about 2 meters in diameter it apparently pumped ovder 300million timnes in its active service at a rate of 3 revs per minute... each stroke delivering 350 tonnes of pressure! 

Ignore the dodgy dude in shorts (me) this sculpture had cast into it details of all major scientific and in particular physics milestones... inspiring.

The science and innovation sphere runs an immersive mapped projection show on multiple screens and surfaces in various languages... it was awesome and the kids really enjoyed the space. 

My daughter was really engrossed in this sphere... love this picture... the seeds of technology.

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