The Passport to the Big Bang: a trail of discovery of CERN and its sites

Sunday 2 June 2013 will see the launch of CERN’s Passport to the Big Bang, a scientific tourist trail linking ten of the Laboratory’s sites in the Pays de Gex and the Canton of Geneva. CERN is organising a public event to celebrate the launch and needs lots of volunteers – you could be one of them!


The exhibition platform in Sergy, in front of the ALICE experiment.

Does your grocer insist that the Pays de Gex is going to be swallowed up by a black hole made by the LHC? Do your neighbours ask you questions about the CERN site visible from your houses, leaving you stumped when you don’t have the answers?  Well then, take them on an accelerator tour – but above ground and with no need for access cards! How? By taking advantage of the Passport to the Big Bang, a cross-border scientific tourist trail that will be inaugurated on 2 June.

The goal of the Passport to the Big Bang is provide the local population with more information about the activities taking place on the various CERN sites scattered across the countryside of the Pays de Gex and the Canton of Geneva. Local residents pass by these sites on a daily basis and yet rarely know what’s going on inside. This new trail comprises exhibition platforms at ten CERN sites. Situated just outside the fenced sites and therefore accessible to the public, the platforms explain the research being conducted every day at CERN and its impact on everyday life. The sites span eight French and Swiss communes and are connected by 54 kilometres of signposted paths, so now you can set out on foot or by mountain bike, along with your neighbours and your grocer, to (re)discover the region, while at the same time learning what goes on behind the scenes at CERN.

Each platform is equipped with a telescope just like the ones found at tourist spots and features a video animation, playable in a choice of French or English, that introduces one of the scientific topics studied at CERN.  Younger (or not-so-young) visitors can also take part in an online game called the “LHC Mission” using the interactive terminals located on each platform. All the information you need about the trail as well as puzzles and maps of the route can be found in the “Passport to the Big Bang” leaflets, which will be available from the CERN Reception, town halls and tourist offices and will be downloadable from the project's dedicated website.

The trail will be inaugurated with a large public event encompassing the route’s ten sites on Sunday 2 June 2013 to coincide with the Fête des Voisins. Everyone who lives in the region is invited to come along and join in the fun, learn more about CERN and test their skills. In the morning, you and your kids will all have the opportunity to take part in a family bike ride, or the more athletic among you will have the chance to try out the 54-km route in a timed mountain bike rally. In the afternoon, CERN scientists, educational establishments and local clubs and associations will offer a variety of activities across the ten sites: why not have a go at building the CMS detector out of Kapla blocks, join a Zumba class, try your hand at Arabic calligraphy or take a ride on an electric bike?

All the information about the cycle route and the inauguration can be found on News about the event is also published on the CERN Facebook page, under Events.

Call for volunteers

The Passport to the Big Bang team is looking for volunteers to organise activities, supervise or help in any way at the launch. Come and spend a few hours acting as a steward for the cycle rally or welcoming the public. For more information and to sign up, please go to:

We’re counting on you!


by CERN Bulletin