The Universe of Particles is an exhibit a CERN that you can visit for free. The exhibit is housed in the Globe of Science and Innovation across the road from CERN reception (location). How ironic that the size of the globe is about that of Saint Peter’s in Rome and that CERN chooses to use that analogy, at least on their web site. One structure stands as symbol of an organization that asks questions about the universe and puts the answers through rigorous analysis. The other structure stands as quite an impressive architectural feat from an organization that took 359 years (with a 13 year investigation!) to acknowledge that Galileo was right: the earth revolves around the sun. Sorry, that still makes us wince here at Travelmarx. We hold grudges.
Back to the goodies at CERN. Also accessible from the CERN reception area is the exhibition Microcosm that helps give you the background you need to understand what goes on at CERN. It is free to visit as well. A good order would be to visit Microcosm first and then go to the Universe of Particles exhibit. Okay, back to religion. While at the Microcosm exhibit, we wandered around, mostly alone with the exhibits and then suddenly a small group appeared and gathered in a corner to hear a presentation that what is being discovered at CERN was in fact in harmony with religious belief. We listened for a few moments and then left to head over to the Universe of Particles. At the exhibit in the globe, we found our own kind of prophet, a docent who had worked at CERN for many, many years. He didn’t turn any water into wine, but was able to talk about what was going on at CERN very articulately, enough for us.
The Universe of Particles has lots of cool information on very mod looking information stations (globes) with innovative touch interaction methods. The overall experience, changing colors, periodic mini-shows and the occasional docent-prophet is worth a visit. For details on the guided tour at CERN, see this entry.