About 1000 visitors took part in the fun and games at the Village des sciences in Ferney-Voltaire and 400 in Annecy-le-Vieux. CERN was the guest of honour for the 30th anniversary of the Fête de la science, alongside entrepreneurs and associations like Pangloss Labs, and other scientific institutions including the Annecy Particle Physics Laboratory (LAPP), the Theoretical Physics Laboratory of Annecy-le-Vieux (LAPTh), the EUTOPIA platform and the Ecole Polytech. This was the third time CERN had taken part in such events in Ferney-Voltaire and the first time in Annecy-le-Vieux.
In Ferney-Voltaire, the five activities organised by CERN were a hit. In the gardens of the Château de Voltaire, the youngest visitors went on a treasure hunt to find routers and re-enact the internet browsing process. They also learned how to make pictures using pixels and got to grips with the basic principles of an electronic circuit through their own artistic creations. But the most popular attractions by far were the particle detection show and the interactive game. Visitors became detectives for a day, seeking clues to identify particles and learning about how particle detectors work.
In addition, an evening event to celebrate the birth of the World Wide Web was held on Wednesday, 6 October, with a special appearance by one of the internet’s pioneers in Europe, François Fluckiger, which attracted an audience of around fifty.
In Annecy-le-Vieux, visitors of all ages were thrilled to meet scientists working at LAPP and take part in the CERN activities on offer. The organisers of S’Cool LAB presented their “Salad Bowl Accelerator”, a simple and fun way of demonstrating how a particle accelerator works. In a similar vein, an exhibition called “Accélérer le futur” showcased the technological advances that could be applied to future accelerators like the one currently on the drawing board, the Future Circular Collider. Many went away happily clutching their souvenirs, such as a photo of themselves in front of the Large Hadron Collider or a badge depicting the elementary particle best matching their personality.
Many thanks to everyone who made both events possible and ensured that fun was had by all, in full compliance with the health and safety measures in force. Thanks also to the CERN volunteers who gave up their free time and were perfect ambassadors of the Organization. There’s nothing more to say than… roll on next year!