Alphabet of the Universe Exhibition
The Planetarium Science Center (PSC) of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in collaboration with CERN have established  the exhibition of “Fundamental Physics Exhibition, from CERN to North Africa and the Middle East”. CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research, founded in 1952 with the mandate of establishing a world-class fundamental physics research organization in Europe.

The exhibition consists of:
• 16 interactive exhibits
• 5 objects
• 7 videos (5 LED screens, 4 tablets and a projector)
• 5 videos about “Physicists Say” (5 tablets)
• 120 posters

Exhibition Zones and Exhibits:
The exhibition is divided into 5 areas. They are illustrated as the following:

Area 0:

At the entrance a video with “LHC rap” is played (http://vimeo.com/1730771). It is exhibit (0.1) in the addendum. The purpose of the video is the following:

• Creating a friendly atmosphere for visitors in order to facilitate introduction to a topic often perceived as “too difficult”.
• Creating an affinity with researchers, and making the public feel that they are the people with whom it is possible to have an informal and relaxed dialogue.
 

Area 1:
PART ONE: THE UNIVERSE AS WE UNDERSTAND IT

The first thing that visitors see is a video projected on the floor. It is exhibit (1.1) in the addendum. The projection is about the history of the Universe, from Big Bang to the galaxies. It is a spectacular exhibit, which is good to have as the first thing in the exhibition, as it will catch the attention of visitors.

Following the projection, we start going into more details about what we know. A hands-on exhibit (1.2) aims to explain the constituents of protons and neutrons, and how strong the force that keeps quarks together is.

The nature of the strong force is explained further in exhibit (1.3) This exhibit is a combination of hands on and virtual reality, and it is conceived to explain that strong force keeping the quarks together, and that its effect becomes increasingly bigger as the quarks are forced to separate up to a certain point when new quarks appear.

The previous exhibits explained how nuclei work, but atoms also contain electrons. While electrons are introduced in the written text, exhibits (1.4) and (1.5) explain electromagnetic force.

To explain the origin of nuclei to visitors, video (1.6) shows the process of nuclear fusion in the heart of the stars. Having raised the issue of the weak force, exhibit (1.7) explains one of its effects: radioactive decay.

The universe is full of particles, and the particles from space penetrate the atmosphere constantly. Exhibit (1.8), a cosmic rays detector gives the visitor an idea of these phenomena.
One of the most puzzling aspects of the universe is the gravitational force. Exhibits (1.9) and (1.10) explain some of its effects.

The most recent and exciting discovery in particle physics is the Higgs boson (NOTE: in this document, I assume that by the opening of the exhibition physicists will have found the Higgs boson. In case they have not, this part will be revised). Exhibit (1.11) explains what the Higgs Field is.

However, in the end, how many particles exist in the universe? And through how many forces do they interact? Exhibit (1.12) is an interacting panel summarizing the Standard Model.
 


Area 2:
PART TWO: OPEN QUESTIONS

Do we know everything about the universe? No, we still need to understand quite a lot.

Dark matter is a big open question. Exhibit (2.1) is an interactive representation of how the presence of dark matter creates the so-called gravitational lens.

One of the possible explanations for dark matter is the existence of super symmetry. Exhibits (to be defined) explain what super symmetry is.

Super symmetry might imply the existence of more than one Higgs boson. Exhibits (to be defined) or text explain the future of the Higgs boson hunting.

Not only do we not know the nature of dark matter, we don’t even have information about the nature of another elusive leading actor in the universe: dark energy. Exhibit (2.2) gives an idea of the amount of dark energy and dark matter in the universe, while an exhibit (to be defined) introduces extra dimension as a possible source of information about dark energy.

A quite well known but still mysterious form of matter is antimatter. Exhibit (2.3) introduces it and the problem of understanding why most of what we know is made of matter, and not of antimatter, and why matter did not disappear together with antimatter shortly after the Big Bang.

 

Area 3:
PART THREE: ANSWERING MACHINES

First of all, visitors should understand why very special “machines” are needed in order to study particles, and what do we mean when we say “small” or “big”. Exhibit (3.1) aims to help with this.

Exhibits (3.2) and (3.3), together with graphics and texts, explain how particle accelerators work.

Exhibit (3.4) is a slice of a magnet. Its purpose in the exhibition is to give an idea of what a real accelerator component looks like.

Superconductivity plays a central role in LHC. Exhibit (3.5) introduces the advantage of using superconductivity instead of normal wires.

Exhibit (3.6) explains how the protons of LHC are generated from a Hydrogen bottle, and how they move inside LHC.

Besides particle accelerators, detectors are essential in particle physics. Exhibit (3.7) gives a metaphoric explanation about how they work: in the metaphor the “carpet” is the detector, while the tip of the pendulum is the particle leaving its trace.

Crystal detectors, exhibit (3.9), are real components of a detector that visitors can see.
Exhibit (3.10), a video about assembling the ATLAS detector (or CMS), gives visitors an idea of how complex real LHC detectors are.

How has the Higgs boson been detected? Exhibit (3.11) is software that will offer visitors the experience of discovering the Higgs boson by themselves.

One of the most amazing aspects of LHC is the amount of data that it produces. Exhibit (3.12) gives an idea of that.

 

Area 4:
PART FOUR: BEYOND PHYSICS

Although aimed at exploiting very basic natural phenomena, particle physics has many applications in the everyday life. At the end of the exhibition, visitors discover one of the most famous spin off’s of CERNs activities: the World Wide Web, presented in the exhibit (4.1).

Following this, visitors enter a tunnel-like exhibit (4.2), where other applications are presented Pest, touchscreens, application in nuclear plants, radionucleai transformation for medical purposes etc.

Finally, at the end of the exhibition, visitors will discover a kind of parlour (Diwan) where they can meet scientists from various countries including their own by video. This is exhibit (4.3). Scientists (mainly young) underline the emotions they experience in their work, the importance of international collaboration and how science can be used as a common language owned by everybody which helps significantly in overcoming divisions and boundaries.


 

Area 5
:

Videos displaying a physicists explaining something related to physics in 2.30’’. Information totems shaped like a man located in each area. Face of physicists in the foreground. Under the arm the insights are positioned (A4 sheets).

 
 
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