September 2013: the doors open

Three special days and one public open day: at the end of September our Laboratory will open its doors to visitors from CERN, the local region and all over the world. With over 150,000 visitors expected in total, the organisation of the OpenDays is a challenge that a core team of eleven people have taken up with enthusiasm.


They come from several departments but share one goal: making the last four days of September an unforgettable experience for all the visitors who will come to discover the Laboratory and its scientists. The core team in charge of the organisation of the events is co-ordinated by Hermann Schmickler. “The events are an opportunity for us to celebrate  the discoveries, the excellent performance of the technical installations and the vital contribution of all the CERN personnel, the thousands of users and those working under support contracts,” says Hermann Schmickler.

The four-day programme will start on Friday 27 September with an “Industry day” dedicated to CERN’s industrial partners and a few other guests. It will continue on the Saturday with an entire day reserved for CERN people and their families. Sunday 29 September will be the public open day during which over 100,000 visitors are expected on the various CERN sites. “For the CERN and public days, we are planning a rich programme of activities above ground in addition to visits to seven underground points, of which six will be around the LHC,” explains Sascha Schmeling, deputy co-ordinator of the events. “Given the limited capacity of the installations, the underground visits will only be possible with tickets that will be reservable online free of charge.”

Bosons&More is the name that has been given to the event organised on Monday 30 September to celebrate in music the recent discoveries with the people who made them possible. “The official speeches by the Management will be followed by a big party on the Prévessin site at which a variety of ‘multicultural food’ partly provided by the Member States will be on offer,” explains Hermann.

Going back to figures, with over 150,000 visitors expected over the four days, more than 20 activity points on site and seven underground visit itineraries, you don’t need to be a Nobel laureate in physics to imagine the number of volunteers who will be needed. “The volunteers and their dedication will be vital to the success of the events,” says Virginie Blondeau, who is in charge of the volunteer programme. “In recognition of their contribution we will organise food and some small gifts, and about two weeks after the event we will hold a small reception for them.” The call for volunteers will open on 3 May, when a dedicated Bulletin article will give you the starting signal: ready, steady…

Visit the CERN OpenDays website:

by Antonella Del Rosso