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Big Bang at World Museum

Photo: Physicist Tara Shears holding a VELO Detector at the Big Bang! exhibition.

I’m tempted to say Big Bang – Small Exhibition but really its just dwarfed by being in the huge horseshoe gallery alongside the larger RESPECTacles exhibition.
Its a fascinating subject, well presented with interactive screens etc. and I really like Jon Burgerman’s illustrations.

If all goes to plan it will be showing here in Liverpool when they do the big switch on at CERN, scheduled for later this month.

A ground-breaking experiment‚ which could unlock some of the unsolved mysteries of the universe‚ will be explored in BIG BANG! Celebrating the World’s Largest Physics Experiment, a new exhibition at World Museum Liverpool on display until Monday 22 September 2008.

The exhibition will offer a sneak preview into one of the greatest experiments human-kind has ever seen‚ in a gigantic machine known as the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Costing approximately £2.5 billion‚ the LHC is buried deep underground on the Franco-Swiss border at CERN‚ the European Particle Physics Laboratory.

Due to be switched on this year for the very first time the LHC represents decades of research and eager anticipation for a generation of scientists. Sub-atomic particles will be smashed together at almost the speed of light to recreate, on a small scale, the conditions that existed in the universe less than a billionth of a second after the Big Bang. It is hoped the experiment will help answer fundamental questions about the world around us and lead to new discoveries on the nature of mass and matter.

Visitors to World Museum Liverpool will see the different stages of this unique experiment through a wide range of objects‚ video footage of scientists involved in the project‚ images and interactives. Highlights include:

• A slice through the heart of the LHC – a cross section showing the pipe the beams travel through‚ the cryogenics and the dipole magnet that controls them

• Tower of 1800 CDs representing the huge amount of data produced by the LHC every hour

• A chance to learn about the global grid that is revolutionising the way we use computers

• An exciting collaboration between the Science Museum and artist Jon Burgerman, bringing particle physics to life in a giant wall graphic

Mind-blowing facts about the LHC:

• Operating at -271 degrees‚ parts of the LHC tunnel are colder than outer space

• The LHC beam has the energy of a high speed train‚ but would fit through the zero printed on a twenty pence piece

• The LHC’s main tunnel is 27 km long‚ the length and diameter of the Circle Line tunnel on the London underground

• The LHC beam circulates the 27 km ring, 11,000 times a second, for up to 10 hours‚ travelling the equivalent of the distance to Neptune and back

World Museum Liverpool is a fitting venue for BIG BANG! as the city has been at the forefront of research into particle physics, a history reflected in the museum’s Space Gallery which contains objects such as the Geiger counter Prof H Geiger gave to Liverpool based scientist James Chadwick and parts of Chadwick’s amazing machine the Cyclotron that helped discover the neutron. Scientists from the University of Liverpool have been involved in the LHC project since its inception and built the detectors that were used at CERN as forerunners to the LHC.

World Museum Liverpool
Science Museum