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News Release

‘Big Bang’ machine comes to Belfast

30 April 2013 Queen's University, Belfast

The world’s largest science experiment, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and the man behind the Higgs particle theory, are coming to Belfast as part of a week-long public exhibition hosted by Queen’s University.

Over the May bank holiday weekend and for the rest of the week Queen’s is inviting members of the public to walk through a full-size replica of a section of the LHC tunnel as well as having the chance to meet physicists involved in answering some of the biggest mysteries of the universe by re-creating conditions just after the Big Bang.  Visitors will also be able to get hands-on with a number of interactive exhibits collectively creating a feel for what it's like to be a particle physicist working on the world’s most powerful atom smasher.

Developed by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, the week-long exhibition will also feature a lecture from Physicist Professor Peter Higgs, the man behind the Higgs Boson, and Queen’s graduate Dr Steve Myers, who is Director for Accelerators and Technology at CERN, the organisation that built and operates the LHC in Switzerland.

Speaking ahead of the event, Dr Myers said: “As a Queen’s graduate I’m delighted to return to the University for such a special event.  For many people it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the real life application of physics and science in such a setting.  Queen’s is one of the UK’s leading research universities and it gave me the skillset, foundation and opportunity to go on and become a key part of the world’s largest science experiment, so I am honoured not only to return but to also share the platform with Professor Peter Higgs.”

Professor Alan Fitzsimmons, from the School of Mathematics and Physics at Queen’s, said: “This is the first time a major exhibition on the work on the LHC has come to Northern Ireland.  It is a unique opportunity for members of the public, young and old, to get an insight into what takes place in the Large Hadron Collider and to meet those physicists and scientists who are having a huge impact around the world.  Queen’s graduates have gone on to work at CERN as well as other major scientific organisations like NASA and the European Space Agency. This is an opportunity for potential students and the public alike to see how Queen’s and physics is having a real impact and where a career in the subject could take them.”

STFC Chief Executive Professor John Womersley said: "This visit by the life-sized model of the LHC to Belfast is a wonderful way to remind the people of Northern Ireland of just how big a part Northern Irish scientists, researchers and engineers have contributed to the work at CERN that recreates the conditions that existed just milliseconds after the Big Bang.

"The visit is also a great way to recognise the work of Queen’s in producing very successful physics graduates. Graduates such as Steve Myers, the man who leads the department at CERN with the responsibility to make the LHC work. Steve is currently leading the team that is undertaking the major maintenance and upgrade work of the LHC to enable it to run at twice the energy when it turns back on in 2015."

For further information on the exhibition and how to get involved visit:

Attached files

  • Large Hadron Collider

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