CERN takes off at Lift11

CERN was especially featured at the Lift11 conference, held in Geneva early this month. Tara Shears delivered a keynote speech at the event, while Paul Oortman Gerlings (DGS-SEE) and Erik van der Bij (BE-CO) – winners of the Bulletin’s Lift11 competition – organised the CERN workshop.


Paul Oortman Gerlings takes questions at CERN's Lift11 workshop.

Lift11 was an opportunity for CERN to reach today’s innovators and developers. “The event was filled with people eager to learn new ideas, who were not afraid to ask questions,” says Tara Shears, physicist from the LHCb Collaboration who presented an update on the status of the LHC. “People were amazed by what goes on inside CERN, by our science, our facilities – even by the way we carry out our day-to-day work. It is a branch of fundamental research that really seems to inspire everyone.” A small Lift11 group had the chance to take a tour of CERN, and the visit quickly became a ‘waiting list only’ event.

Tara Shears updates the Lift11 audience on the status of the LHC.

The technophiles who couldn’t get a seat on the CERN tour were able to attend a workshop hosted by the Organization. Back in January, the Bulletin held a competition inviting CERNois to develop a workshop plan that would engage both science and society. While basic scientific research is at the heart of the Organization, the winning workshop demonstrated how CERN has simultaneously been able to develop innovative technology. “The workshop was an opportunity to show how CERN can be a source of innovation and technology for entrepreneurs,” says workshop organiser Paul Oortman Gerlings, whose day job at CERN is safety advisor for the Safety Engineering and Environment Group.

At the workshop, inventor Albert IJspeert presented his CERN-made centring device, originally developed to centre and clamp magnets in the LHC. The workshop participants were asked to brainstorm about the industrial possibilities of the device. “They had some great ideas about how to apply Albert’s technology to real world problems,” says Erik van der Bij, fellow workshop organiser who works as a project manager of hardware for control systems at CERN.

The CERNois returning from the Lift11 conference have brought with them an enthusiasm for innovation and are looking forward to returning next year. “CERN’s involvement in the conference has proven to be an excellent way to involve and engage the tech-savvy crowd,” says Shears.


by Katarina Anthony