Real Scientists

Last week I was the curator of the Real Scientists Twitter account (@RealScientists). It coincided with a trip to CERN for a test beam experiment so I took full advantage of being on site to show as much of CERN as possible. I ended up having a lot of fun being a tourist in my own lab and got to see parts of the site I’d never been to before! It started off a little slow as I found my feet with a new (to me) account and as I prepared for my trip, but everything really took off Tuesday morning when I landed in Geneva.

I wanted to include as many photos as I could, to allow people to feel like they were really visiting the lab. The following was a very popular image (but please excuse the typo, the WWW was invented just *over* 25 years ago).

I also talked about my preparations for the experiment at CERN, including a bit of shoe-shopping!

On the Wednesday I gave a virtual tour on the account of the LHC tunnel. It had to be a virtual tour as the tunnel is only open at certain times and this week wasn’t one of them. Indeed, CERN is starting to close a lot of the underground areas in preparation for starting up the LHC again next year!

The Real Scientists Mods made a Storify, which you can find here:

On Wednesday evening, I had a wonderful tour of the CLOUD experiment by a friend and CERN colleague, Christina (@chasingcloudsCW) and also Chris, who I met through Christina. I saved posting the images for the next day. It is a fascinating experiment and I’m glad I now know more about it. There’s also a recent TEDxCERN TED Ed animation about the research, by the spokesperson for the experiment, Jasper Kirkby.

Another popular image was one from CERN’s Restaurant 1, where I explained just where we get the energy to make the LHC and the experiments work:

To be diplomatic I shared images from visits to both the CMS and ATLAS experiments:

Amusingly, the most popular image of the whole week seems to be the one of the Mouse Sanctuary outside of the CERN Computing Centre (those mice are adorable!).

Near the end of the week, I managed a visit to the CERN Control Centre, somewhere I’ve been wanting to go to for a long time! This is the control room that runs the accelerators at CERN; not just the LHC, but also the smaller accelerators that feed the LHC and other experiments at CERN (such as the one I’m here to work on).

I had a fantastic time as curator and as soon as I’ve finished updating the full Storify of my week, I’ll add that here.

Next week, Professor Danielle George (@EngineerDG) will be curating the account and will include behind the scenes information about her upcoming Christmas Lectures with the Royal Institution. Make sure to head over and take a look!


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