After more than sixteen years at the ATLAS experiment it seems to be time for a change, and for me that change is going from quarks to qubits, and from a mix of fundamental research, teaching and science communication to a full-time job working on public engagement and didactics for the recently founded Munich Quantum Valley.
The past ten days have been somewhat crazy (unfortunately the upcoming ones don’t seem to be calmer) …
From 4 to 6 October I joined the autumn meeting of the International Particle Physics Outreach Group (IPPOG) at CERN as the representative of the ATLAS Collaboration, listening to and discussing about worldwide efforts in particle physics science education and communication. IPPOG – a global network of scientists, science educators and communication specialists – welcomed four new members at the end of the meeting: Austria, Denmark, the LHCb Collaboration and the ALICE Collaboration. Amongst other things we had brainstorm session on possible new exhibits to improve and extend the IPPOG resource database and how to communicate the knowledge transfer from particle physics to society.
From 8 to 12 October I was at CERN for the ATLAS Collaboration Week as well as lots of other meetings. In an intensive though productive outreach session, we dedicated a large fraction of the time to the status of and future plans for ATLAS Open Data. On Thursday we had 39 students from LMU Munich over for a full-day visit to CERN, in particular the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) Control Room, the CERN Control Centre, the magnet-test facility (SM18) as well as the ATLAS Visitor Centre. And … hohoho … I witnessed a very special VIP (white-bearded guy dressed in red) visit to ATLAS last week ;)
Last but not least, on 13 October we had our annual Open Day in Garching, this time incorporated into the 150 years TUM celebrations (who shouldn’t get any credits, because they didn’t print our activity in the official programme … buh!). Similar to last year’s event, we had the ground floor of the Institute for Advanced Studies and showed the ATLAS LEGO model, hosted a Build Your Own Particle Detector event/competition and had a little particle physics exhibition with live event displays from CERN, short movies about ATLAS and CERN, the Netzwerk Teilchenwelt button machine and loads of discussions. Finally we hosted a screening of ‘BBC Horizon – Inside CERN‘, a documentary about the ‘famous’ 750 GeV bump in 2015 LHC data, as well as an extensive question-and-answer sessions afterwards.
‘A New Supernova over Munich’, that’s the slogan of the ESO planetarium and visitor centre that opened recently. It’s not exactly above Munich, as Garching is a bit of a subway ride outside of town, but it’s certainly worth the trip!
They have a very nice permanent exhibition called “The Living Universe” which covers about everything from where we are to what we know about our Universe. There’s temporary exhibitions as well as a fantastic planetarium, with lots of different shows, on top of that. I’ve seen the “Phantom of the Universe” as well as “Two Small Pieces of Glass — The Amazing Telescope“, and they are both great movies. Obviously the former of the two has to be, as it features the ATLAS experiment and was in part done by ATLAS people (thanks for that).
The best part is, that both the exhibitions and the planetarium shows are (still) free of charge. So there’s really no excuse for not passing by!!
Wow … what a weekend. After returning from the LHC LLP Workshop in Trieste at 7am on Saturday, I went straight to Garching to set up the scene for our 2017 Garching Open Day event starting at 11am. After getting home at 10pm I got started on the final preparations for Sunday’s 2017 Fotohalbmarathon. But one after the other …
Once again, and thanks to a great team, we had an exemplary Open Day event on Saturday … ATLAS live-info screens and posters, a button machine, a BYOPD competition, a large ATLAS LEGO model, short-film screenings throughout the day, a screening of “BBC Horizon – Inside CERN” in the evening, and several hundred people passing by (47 participants in the BYOPD competition) and chatting/discussing with us. The final QnA after the movie took longer than the movie itself :)
For both events the juries are still busy working out the best contributions ;)
We had Christmas dinner at work yesterday … more than two kilograms of cheese (Appenzeller, Gruyère, Emmental and an old Tyrol cheese) in seven different kinds of cheese fondue (Appenzeller, Gruyère, Tyrol, tomato mixed, spring onion mixed, bacon mixed, chives mixed; and yes, I know it’s eight caquelons) for about 40 group members. Certainly an experience … from shopping, over preparation, to the dinner itself :)