A table-top LHC

Many years ago, when ATLAS was no more than a huge empty underground cavern and Russian artillery shell casings were being melted down to become part of the CMS calorimetry system, science photographer Peter Ginter started documenting the LHC’s progress. He was there when special convoys of equipment crossed the Jura at night, when cranes were lowering down detector slices and magnet coils were being wound in workshops. Some 18 years of LHC history have been documented by Ginter, and the result has just come out as a massive coffee table book full of double-page spreads of Ginter’s impressive images.


The new coffee table book, LHC: the Large Hadron Collider.

Published by the Austrian publisher Edition Lammerhuber in cooperation with CERN and UNESCO Publishing, LHC: the Large Hadron Collider is an unusual piece in the company’s portfolio. As the publisher’s first science book, LHC: the Large Hadron Collider weighs close to five kilos and comes in a sleek slipcase featuring a vibrant heavy-ion collision from the ALICE detector. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the book was paired with a well-known figure in Austrian literary circles: writer and playwright Franzobel, who provided the two large chunks of text that sit between the chapters containing images of the machine, the detectors, the computer centre, the Globe and “everyday” scenes at CERN that include a freeclimber in a test hall and a Buddhist monk between cavities. One text is a conversation between Franzobel and CERN Director General Rolf Heuer about CERN, the LHC and the science behind it all, and the other is an attempt by the language pro to find the right words to describe the LHC adventure.

The book was launched at the Ars Electronica festival in September and presented at the Frankfurt book fair last week. CERN’s display drew a constant crowd of visitors, members of the media and book professionals. With LHC physicists on hand to answer questions and three huge pallets of books about the accelerator, CERN stood out from the crowd. The stand also included: a live connection to the CCC, a mini control room with real operators on shift, a small exhibition with a model of ATLAS, a cloud chamber, and a few other exhibits.

The book will be on sale at the CERN bookshop but is also already available from general bookshops and online.

by Barbara Warmbein