Hadron Collider exhibition opens with a bang

09 December 2016

What sits under the border between France and Switzerland, generates temperatures 100,000 times hotter than the sun, and shoots protons at one billion kilometres per hour?

It’s a super experiment operating at the frontiers of energy, temperature and human ingenuity, and opening at Queensland Museum today.

Hadron Collider: Step inside the world’s greatest experiment gives a behind-the-scenes look into the particle physics lab at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland, and takes visitors to the heart of a particle collision.

CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the world’s largest machine and known globally for proving the existence of the Higgs boson. Consisting of a 27 kilometre ring of superconducting magnets, the LHC is the work of more than 10,000 physicists and engineers from 100 countries.

Developed by the Science Museum, London, Hadron Collider: Step inside the world’s greatest experiment is the latest exciting exhibition presented by Queensland Museum, and the closest experience possible to visiting the famous site.

Queensland Museum Network CEO and Director Professor Suzanne Miller said from today, museum visitors can be virtually transported to the world famous CERN laboratory.

“Exhibitions like this inspire people to better understand and appreciate the way science is continually refining and expanding our knowledge of the universe,” Professor Miller said.

Professor Miller said while many people have heard of the LHC, they may not understand its purpose.

“Thousands of scientists are working in the LHC to improve our understanding of the building blocks of life,” she said.

“This immersive exhibition uses tangible elements to help explain particle physics and quantum mechanics.

“Visitors can talk to virtual scientists, walk the tunnels of CERN, explore the control room and stand in the heart of a particle collision to relive an historical moment of scientific discovery.

“Science helps us discover what's in the universe and how those things work today, how they worked in the past, and how they are likely to work in the future.

“The LHC has captured imaginations of people worldwide and we are delighted to give our visitors the chance to see the project through the eyes of the scientists behind its design and operation.”

Hadron Collider: Step inside the world’s greatest experiment is supported by QGC and Winton Capital Management.

QGC Vice President Tony Nunan said QGC is proud to support Hadron Collider: Step inside the world’s largest experiment, as part of the company’s Future Makers partnership with the Queensland Museum Network.

“Through Future Makers we want to help people better understand and engage with science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and we are confident this dynamic exhibition will do just that,” said Mr Nunan.

“We hope that, over time, our engagement program will result in greater participation of Australian students in STEM-related study and equip tomorrow’s leaders with the skills and opportunities to unlock their future potential.”

Hadron Collider: Step inside the world’s greatest experiment is on at Queensland Museum from today (9 December 2016) until 25 April 2017. Tickets are on sale now through QTIX or by calling 13 62 46. Tickets cost: Adults $15, Children $12, Concession $13.50, Family (2 adults and up to 4 children) $45.

Visit www.qm.qld.gov.au/hadroncollider

Media Contact:
Heidi Jones, 0434 565 852
Christine Robertson, 0417 741 710
Email:media@qm.qld.gov.au

Notes to Editors

The Large Hadron Collider: facts and figures
  • The LHC is the largest machine in the world and cost approximately £2.6 billion to construct.
  • Thousands of scientists, engineers and technicians spent decades planning and building the LHC, which continues to operate at the very boundaries of scientific knowledge.
  • In the LHC, protons travel at 99.9999991 per cent of the speed of light. This is equivalent to:
    • 299,792,455 metres per second
    • 1,079,252,839 kilometres per hour (i.e. 1 billion kilometres per hour)
    • 670,616,623 miles per hour
    • 30 million times faster than Usain Bolt.
  • In the time you read this a particle in the LHC could have travelled around the world 30 times.
  • At full energy, each of the two proton beams in the LHC will have a total energy equivalent to a 400 tonne train travelling at 150 km/h. This is enough energy to melt 500 kilograms of copper.
  • The LHC produces 15 petabytes (15 million gigabytes) of data per year – the equivalent to a stack of CDs 20 km tall.

About Queensland Museum Network

Queensland Museum is part of the Queensland Museum Network and the keeping place for the State Collection of 1.2 million objects and specimens, valued at more than $487 million, and approximately 14 million research collection items. For more than 150 years Queensland Museum has grown alongside Queensland to inspire, enrich and empower communities.

About QGC

QGC, owned by Shell Australia, is the world’s first producer of LNG from natural gas sourced from coal seams. We are one of Australia’s leading natural gas explorers and producers, focused on developing Queensland’s world-class gas reserves for supply to the domestic market and international customers.

We work collaboratively with local communities, landholders, government, business and other important stakeholders to ensure our operations provide broad community benefits, create jobs and business opportunities as we explore and develop gas reserves.

About QGC Future Makers

QGC and the Queensland Museum Network have entered into a three-year partnership which focuses on boosting opportunities in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) with a focus on four main areas: school programs, teacher professional development, public engagement and research. Future Makers was developed in response to evidence showing the number of Australian school students participating in STEM subjects is declining significantly.

The unique and innovative program aims to create a whole-of-life approach to STEM education by working directly with students, providing professional development for teachers and engaging with communities.

About Winton Capital Management

Winton Capital Management is a leading global alternative investment company and a world leader in financial mathematics and empirical scientific research into financial markets. The company, founded in 1997, now employs some 280 people, including 120 scientists, at research campuses in London, Oxford, Zurich and Hong Kong.

About Science Museum, London

As the home of human ingenuity, the Science Museum’s world-class collection forms an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical achievements from across the globe. Welcoming over 3 million visitors a year, the Museum aims to make sense of the science that shapes our lives, inspiring visitors with iconic objects, award-winning exhibitions and incredible stories of scientific achievement.

About CERN

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its member states are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Romania is a candidate for accession. Serbia is an associate member in the pre-stage to membership. Pakistan and Turkey are associate members. India, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, the European Commission, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research and UNESCO have observer status.