Category Archives: Physics

ATLAS Visitor Centre reborn

In case you happen to run an exhibition design company, why don’t you have a look at my first ever European CERN price enquiry for the “Design and Construction of the new ATLAS Visitor Centre“, released just a few minutes ago (deadline 19 November 2018).

ATLAS has been thinking about a new ATLAS Visitor Centre (current version seen in the picture above) for a couple of years already, but it seems we are finally getting close. I had the pleasure of learning how to prepare the relevant documents and the politics behind them (thanks to those that helped me) and will continue to lead this effort from the ATLAS side. We hope to have a new Visitor Centre by summer 2019, well enough in time for next year’s CERN Open Days (14/15 September 2019).

I’m very much looking forward to what people will come up with and many more things to learn in the process …

IPPOG meeting,
ATLAS Week, Open Day

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.

ESO Supernova

‘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!!

LLP and SUSY workshops

Spring time is (apparently) workshop time.

Last week I spent three days at the 3rd LHC Long-lived Particle workshop at CERN where the status and plans for searches for long-lived particles (LLPs) at LHC and elsewhere have been presented and discussed. Hopefully soon we’ll be able to put out a white paper, summarising current LLP search coverage, ways to improve it and a unified ‘language’ (set of simplified models) for sensitivity studies and reinterpretations.

This week I went to Stockholm for the 2018 ATLAS Supersymmetry Workshop to meet with a large fraction of the ATLAS SUSY community to (again) discuss the status quo as well as plans and ideas for the future (in terms of supersymmetry searches within ATLAS, also including a few LLP searches). Great location (institute and city) and nice workshop …

IPPOG in Pisa

Just went straight from the IPPOG (International Particle Physics Outreach Group) meeting in Pisa to CERN last weekend. In Pisa we had, once again, plenty of discussions about outreach in particle physics, International Masterclasses, exhibits and other related subjects. We also had a very nice visit and tour of the EGO Virgo site as part of the programme. Obviously, the funny tower was part of the programme as well. Since Sunday I am at CERN for the ATLAS physics and performance week and again lots of meetings on outreach and redoing the ATLAS Visitors Centre.