CERN Summer Student Webfest: a cradle of creativity

The CERN Summer Student Webfest has garnered a reputation for launching creative projects in fields as diverse as online games and cryptographic software, using the popular format of a hackfest. This year, the annual weekend event will celebrate its fourth year between 31 July and 2 August.


What unites Webfest projects is that they are conceived and developed by teams of CERN summer students, with some advice and guidance provided by mentors drawn from CERN and several partners. The event is organised by the Citizen Cyberscience Centre, a partnership between CERN, the UN Institute of Training and Research, and the University of Geneva. Event partners also include Mozilla Foundation, the EC Citizen Cyberlab project and THE Port hackathon.

In 2014, one of the winning teams developed Particle Clicker, a spoof on a simple game called Cookie Clicker. Particle Clicker humorously illustrated the sociological aspects of the high-energy physics community through the rewards it provided players for clicking on an image of a particle detector. The game shot to fame on the Internet, attracting over 100,000 players within a month of its release.

Although many projects will doubtless be inspired by high-energy physics, this year the Webfest also invites participants to pitch projects that have humanitarian or health-related objectives. As in 2014, some of the most promising Webfest projects will be developed further during THE Port hackathon in October, where health and humanitarian applications are the themes.

The Webfest kicks off with a pitching session on Friday evening and is rounded off with a prize-giving ceremony on Sunday evening. Last year, the top prize was a free trip for one lucky team member to the Mozilla Festival in London. To find out more about joining and pitching projects at the event, visit the Webfest site at

by François Grey