The largest scientific experiment ever constructed has come to London after the Science Museum launched its Collider exhibition.
From tomorrow visitors can get a close up look at the technology and the science behind CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 16-mile long particle physics laboratory built deep under the border between Switzerland and France and tasked with uncovering the fundamental building blocks of the universe.
Among those at the launch of the £1m exhibition was Professor Peter Higgs, who won this year’s Nobel Prize for Physics for his role in predicting the existence of the Higgs boson particle that captured the world’s imagination as the final piece in the Standard Model of particle physics.
And while the proving of its existence earlier this year put the LHC on the map for many members of the general public, Higgs admitted he feared the discovery would overshadow other vital work going on at the site.
"I was quite worried at one time the importance of the discovery of this particular particle was being overplayed," he said. "Because it was put in the background of all the other things the LHC is supposed to do and I thought it was not such a good idea.
"So, I can't really explain why it happened, but it seemed to have sparked an interest."
But the exhibition is not simply piggy-backing off the wave of publicity created by professor Higgs’ discovery, with the blend of video, audio and real artefacts pulled from CERN’s particle collider and its cathedral-sized detector caverns taking two years to put together.
Introducing the new exhibit, director general of CERN Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer said: “I think it will fascinate people I think it will give them a glimpse of what we are doing, how we are doing it, what is the spirit of CERN and what is the spirit of the people working there.”
“And it’s not only the scientists it’s the engineers and technicians, which one should not forget. They are all working in the same spirit towards getting more knowledge and also to transmit that knowledge to the general public.”
The exhibition runs from 13 November, 2013 to 6 May, 2014.