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Major European scientific organisations to take part in European Researchers’ Nights

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18 September 2013

Image: CERN

Geneva, 18 September - CERN, ESA, ESO and UNESCO, in partnership with the Italian Institute of Astrophysics (INAF), invite the public to participate in “Origins 2013”, an exceptional event to take place simultaneously in Geneva, Paris and Bologna on European researchers’ night, Friday 27 September. People from around the world can follow the event live via a webcast.

What do particle physics, astrophysics and space research have in common? They all address fundamental questions that link to our origins: from the origin of matter to the origin of the Universe. In the past months, the Large Hadron Collider, with the discovery of a Higgs boson, and the Planck satellite, with the release of the most precise picture of the very early Universe, have achieved major scientific breakthroughs. In addition, the revolutionary ALMA telescope was recently inaugurated in Chile and will enable unprecedented views of the cosmos. “Origins 2013” will showcase these fascinating scientific endeavours with strong European leadership. This unique event highlights the link between the infinitely small of particle physics and the infinitely large of astrophysics. Researchers in the two fields will share their passion with the general public.

The public at CERN* in Geneva, UNESCO headquarters in Paris and in the city centre of Bologna will be taken on a journey back in time and space, to find out more about the origins of the Universe from a sudden expansion of space 13.8 billion years ago. In the three locations, visitors will be able to meet the researchers who took part in these scientific achievements through face-to-face “speed-dating” discussions.

“With Origins 2013, we want to celebrate the thousands of researchers who, through their work at frontier scientific instruments such as the LHC and Planck, are contributing to deepen our understanding of the origin of the Universe providing a new picture of its early moments”, said Sergio Bertolucci, CERN’s Director for Research and Computing, who will open the CERN event on Friday with Mark McCaughrean, Head of ESA’s Research and Scientific Support Department, and, in a videoconference connection with Paris, with Gretchen Kalonji, UNESCO’s Assistant Director-General for Natural Sciences and Fernando Doblas, Head of ESA’s Communications Department.

INAF is organising the event in Bologna, and many researchers from partner institutions, such as INFN in Italy and CNRS and CEA in France, will talk to the local and online audiences during the live webcast streamed simultaneously from Paris, Geneva and Bologna. Among the guest scientists on stage, there will be: François Englert, one of the theorists who predicted the existence of the Higgs particle, and François Bouchet, deputy principal investigator for Planck’s High Frequency Instrument, in Paris; Nobel Laureate Sam Ting with Fabiola Gianotti and Joe Incandela (the two physicists leading the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the moment of the Higgs discovery announcement) in Geneva and Giovanni Fabrizio Bignami, INAF’s President, Fernando Ferroni, INFN President and Marco Bersanelli, deputy principal investigator for Planck’s Low Frequency Instrument, in Bologna. Video conferences will link the three European cities to ESA’s Planck’s operations centre in Darmstadt, with Nazzareno Mandolesi, principal investigator of Planck’s Low Frequency Instrument, and to remote venues, such as ESO’s ALMA telescope site in the Atacama desert (Chile), the International Space Station, with ESA’s astronaut Luca Parmitano, and the LHC tunnel, 100 metres underground.

Participation in the speed-dating and live webcast at CERN is by reservation only, via the ORIGINS website.

Note: Origins 2013 is a project designed by CERN and realized in partnership with INAF with the collaboration of ESO, ESA and UNESCO and receiving funding from the European Commission through the Marie Curie Researchers’ Night initiative.

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