Major science education project launched by CERN

9th April 2019 By: Rebecca Campbell - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Pan-European particle physics laboratory CERN has announced that it has launched its Science Gateway project. This is a scientific outreach and education centre that will be funded entirely through external donations. The cost of the centre is estimated at 79-million Swiss francs, of which 57-million has already been collected, including a 45-million Swiss franc donation from the FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) Foundation.

“The Science Gateway will enable CERN to expand significantly its education and outreach offering for the general public, in particular the younger generations,” highlighted CERN director-general Fabiola Gianotti. “We will be able to share with everybody the fascination of exploring and learning how matter and the universe work, the advanced technologies we need to develop in order to build our ambitious instruments and their impact on society, and how science can influence our daily life. I am deeply grateful to the donors for their crucial support in the fulfilment of this beautiful project.”

The Science Gateway will cover 7 000 m2, and will incorporate exhibitions explaining a wide range of scientific phenomena, from elementary particles to the evolution and structure of the universe. There will also be exhibitions on CERN’s particle accelerators, their associated experiments and computing systems and how they are used to make scientific discoveries. Other exhibitions will show how CERN’s technologies benefit society.

The centre will also host educational activities, including immersive activities such as hands-on experimentation. Not only will these permit visitors to find out what it is like to be a scientist, but they will also encourage them to adopt a scientific mindset – thinking critically, making assessments based on evidence, and using the scientific method.

CERN and the FCA Foundation, with the assistance of the Fondazione Agnelli, will create, as part of the Science Gateway’s educational activities, a schools programme. This is aimed at encouraging students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. A pilot programme will take place in Italy. Thereafter it will be rolled out across all 23 CERN member States.

“The new Science Gateway will satisfy the curiosity of 300 000 visitors every year – including many researchers and students, but also children and their families – providing them with access to tools that will help them understand the world and improve their lives, whatever career paths they eventually chose,” pointed out FCA and FCA Foundation chairman John Elkann. “At FCA we’re delighted to be supporting this project as part of our social responsibility.”

Construction of the Science Gateway is expected to start in 2020 and be finished in 2022. It has been designed by architects Renzo Piano Building Workshop.