Science Museum: 13 November 2013 – 6 May 2014
The CERN Large Hadron Collider – the largest scientific experiment ever made. Here at YesBoy we thought, why not kick off the best online magazine ever made with something intellectual, educational and scientific?
Set in the basement floor of the science museum, a testament to the collider itself buried deep under Switzerland, the waiting area is adorned chalkboard style with scientific equations and theories, with words such as ‘Einstein’ making a regular appearance in a clear bid to emphasise that yes, this is a scientific experiment.
After quickly realizing that the collider is in fact not what I thought it was – the machine they use to test g-force on pilots – I was left slightly disappointed but followed the rest of the crowd anyway as we were called to our seats.
For the first twenty minutes the exhibition goers were treated to an introductory video to build up the hype that surrounded the recent discovery of the Higgs-Boson – the ‘God particle’ - at the Collider.
After one character’s enthusiastic description of the chemistry set they got for a childhood birthday and another’s wistful reminiscing of their school science lessons; it soon became apparent that the video was intended to get children excited about science.
I started to lose the will to live when an X-Factor style sob story was thrown in with the death of the Scouse research assistant’s father: “I wish my dad could have been here to see this… but he died last year.”
With the video over, the crowd shuffled out into the main exhibition space, a winding corridor of artefacts and information about the Collider. Where the video lacked in information and appeal to all ages, the main exhibition more than made up for.
The basic functions of the Collider were explained on various whiteboards in enough in-depth information to be educational and interesting yet simple enough for the non-scientist to understand. Intricate replica parts of the machinery were on display and their functions clearly labeled.
The magnitude of the work and research that happens at the CERN Collider was revealed in a display towards the end, as were the other theories that are yet to be fully explained such as gravity and dark matter.
The penultimate feature was a conceptual video of the Collider that summed up the scientific processes in an artistic manner. This would have been a fitting end to the exhibition, but no…
I soon came across another video room with the Scouse research assistant again; gazing with awe into a computer screen, feigning over dramatic gasps and shocked laughter with the occasional “I can’t believe it” and a near-tearful “We’ve found the Higgs-Boson.”
Rolling my eyes, I headed for the exit.