If you think 'you can't trust atoms because they make up everything', then it's definitely time for you to visit CERN.
Yes. If this groan-worthy joke is the extent of your science knowledge, then you will almost certainly want to get yourself to Geneva and visit CERN – the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
The famous Geneva particle-physics laboratory is now a household name after the discovery of the Higgs boson in 2012, although that experiment just scratches the surface of what the organization has uncovered since its birth in 1954.
Thankfully, unlike the intricacies of the universe, the workings of CERN need no longer be shrouded in mystery. This is due to a series of guided facility tours, which is where you come in.
What happens on the tour?
This free above-ground tour of the laboratory will give your grey matter the ins and outs of day-to-day life at CERN, while getting some insight into the most intriguing concepts, such as the potential origins of the universe, the workings of the Large Hadron Collider, and the smallest subatomic particles known to man.
More than you will need for dropping some intelligent, dinner-table conversation, don't you think?
Running all year round, the interactive two-hour guided tour (taking place in both English and French) includes a movie introducing CERN, before a visit to both an historic area of the lab and the operations centre of one of the experiments.
Post-tour, you can spend time wandering around two permanent exhibitions, packed with interactive displays to quench your thirst for knowledge. The newly refurbished ‘Microcosm exhibit’ and ‘the Universe of Particles’.
And yes – there is a gift shop. Because no tour would be complete without a Higgs boson keyring!
- Guided tours of the famous CERN laboratory in Geneva
- Features two excellent permanent exhibitions
- Tours take place in both English and French
- All the dinner-table facts you'll need to make a great impression