Visitors to the Sofia Science Festival will be able to take one step beyond and go on a virtual tour of CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, best known in recent years for its ground-breaking experiments with the Large Hadron Collider.
The guides on the virtual tour will be young scientists from various countries, and in Sofia, Associate Professor Leander Litov, head of the Bulgarian team of scientists at CERN.
More than 2250 people are employed permanently at CERN, but when its largest experiment is on the go, more than 13 000 people are involved at once. Organisers of the festival hope that among the audience, there may be those inspired by their virtual visit to CERN to work towards joining the famous research outfit’s team.
At CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe, as the organisation itself explains.
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.
Founded in 1954, the CERN laboratory sits astride the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 21member states. Bulgaria joined in 1999 and is well-represented at CERN, with about 120 scientists and doctoral students involved in research at the organisation.
As noted in a report by Bulgarian National Radio, Bulgaria has been actively participating in the preparation and implementation of one of the two large experiments at CERN – the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) since its establishment in 1991.
Not only that, Bulgarian mechanical engineering, electronics and information services firms have been involved extensively in supplying equipment, including mechanical devices and computers.
Professor Litov told BNR that items supplied by Bulgarian companies included 700 tons of absorber for the CMS experiment and aluminum frames for the construction of the CMS detector of the Large Hadron Collider. Bulgaria is involved in CERN projects in various ways, including servicing and maintenance of CERN’s computer cluster.
The CERN event is on May 17 2015 at 11am at the Theatre Sofia venue of the Sofia Science Festival in Zaimov (also known as Oborishte) Park. Entry is free, but visitors must get a pass from the box office in advance.
(Illustration: A cross-section of a Large Hadron Collider dipole in the tunnel by CERN)