It took me some time, but finally I managed to write a few words about the fantastic event I took part last Sunday.
I was asked to run one of the stations during the inauguration event of the new Passeport Big Bang interactive circuit at CERN. The circuit is a permanent installation and collection of cycling tours to explore the LHC and the area its situated. During the inauguration event there were a variety of stations set up the inform, educate and entertain the public. One of the stations happened to be my idea of a “Build your own particle detector” competition.
Following the spirit of the ATLAS model I made back in 2011, the task was of course to build the model in LEGO. Putting together pieces bought by the high energy physics group at the Niels Bohr Institute, the CERN outreach group and myself, I managed to get about 15 kg of LEGO. Stuffed in my tracking backpack, I took them from Copenhagen to Geneva and back as my only travel luggage. CERN organised a nice and big tent with plenty of room for heaps of people and kilos of LEGO. With the help of the ATLAS event management team, I managed to fill up the tent with a few posters, my large ATLAS model and a nice big 42″ screen showing the model construction time-lapse movie.
Even though we were certainly lacking a few things in organisation and were certainly not enough people (thanks to my helper Natalie), the idea worked out extremely well.
We estimated the number of children passing through and playing with LEGO in the hundreds, with 81 models handed in for the competition. Again, thanks to the people setting up the ATLAS tent next to mine, I also had some giveaway for every contestant, to bridge the waiting time for a decision of the grand jury.
You can see some pictures of the event and all the models in the competition at http://passeport.mehlhase.info/.
As the event was quite a success, I’ll probably set up a similar event during the CERN Open Days on September 28th/29th and at Kulturnatten in Copenhagen on October 11th.