Being a researcher for one night

On 24 September from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., European Researchers Night will give some 100 young students from local schools the opportunity to sit side by side with scientists and operators in the LHC control rooms. At the same time, a live webcast will connect CERN with various institutes around Europe participating in the Being a European Scientist Today (BEST) project. You are all invited to take part!

Copyright Frascati Scienza
The European Researchers Night is an EU initiated and funded initiative, which aims at highlighting the appeal of being a researcher. Meeting scientists in a ‘fun’ and festive context gives the public, especially the young, the opportunity to get to know the job better and be inspired to pursue a career in research. “CERN scientists already took part in last year’s event, but only through a web connection with Frascati in Italy”, explains Paola Catapano, a member of the Communication group and organiser of the activities taking place at CERN. “This year it’s the first time we are participating in the event by opening the doors of the LHC control rooms and producing an eight-hour webcast”.

The event is organised in the framework of the EU-funded BEST project, whose other partners are the Frascati Scienza association in Italy – which is also co-ordinating the project – the Erasmus Medical Centre in The Netherlands and the EFDA-JET Institute in the UK. “Our partners in the project come from different scientific fields and this is a very positive thing. Through the webcast we will show that research is intrinsically multidisciplinary, international and collaborative”, says Paola Catapano.

The second main activity of the European Researchers Night organised at CERN specifically targets the local young public, which is invited to apply to experience the excitement of shadowing and working together with scientists and operators in the control rooms. “We have sent all local schools the invitation to participate in the initiative”, explains Corinne Pralavorio, who is responsible for communication with the local community. “Students in the 12-19 years age range are already applying through a web questionnaire in which they are asked to briefly give the reasons for their application to take part. About 100 students will be selected to spend a couple of hours in the control rooms of the experiments and the CERN Control Centre (CCC) and participate in the activities organised for them, which researchers will be directly involved in”.

The webcast will be broadcast in French from the Globe and in English from the ATLAS control room. It will feature video connections with the other experiments’ control rooms, as well as with the CCC and several scientific sites around the world. Many other initiatives are being organised around the main show. They include hands-on activities as well as visits to Microcosm and the Universe of Particles exhibition in the Globe. All the sites involved in the European Researchers Night event will exceptionally stay open until 1 a.m. on 24 September.

How to participate?

To participate in the activities taking place from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the LHC control rooms and in the Globe during the European Researchers Night, you must register using the forms you can find online: the first is for students from 12 to 19 years of age wishing to take part in the control rooms experience; the second is for everyone wanting to participate in the Globe Show.

(translated into French by Rania Python)


by Roberto Cantoni