Microcosm 2015: showcasing real objects, real people and real discoveries

Every year since its inauguration in 1994, the well-loved Microcosm exhibition has played host to tens of thousands of students, tourists and VIPs alike. But the ever-changing CERN landscape warranted a new look for the exhibition, which was last updated in 2003. On 8 December, Microcosm will close for refurbishment, making way for a new, interactive exhibition space to be opened summer 2015.


In the Accelerator zone, Microcosm visitors will don the helmet of an LHC operator. Social media tools will be integrated into the exhibit, allowing visitors to share their "beam" with friends at home. (Conceptual art for the new Microcosm exhibition.)

While the Globe of Science and Innovation provides a spectacular introduction to CERN's key messages, Microcosm has always employed a more didactic approach. The new Microcosm will continue this complementary approach, whilst also immersing visitors into the day-to-day life of CERN people. "We want to highlight the amazing diversity of CERN, from the wide array of jobs being carried out here to the spectrum of nationalities, ages and backgrounds you see on site," says Emma Sanders, project leader in the EDU group, working with Spanish design team, Indissoluble.

The new Microcosm will include 1:1 scale audio-visual recordings that will allow visitors to "meet" CERNois. "This type of 'interaction' with CERN people will give visitors a sense of the physics and engineering challenges tackled at CERN, but also the Laboratory’s open and creative environment of collaboration, the large number of students, the huge array of clubs and activities… everything that goes to make CERN such a special place," says Sanders.

The exhibit will also strive to include real data - live information about what is happening at CERN - and to give an idea of the scientific challenges explored by LHC experiments. Whilst the new Microcosm will target most of its content at a non-specialist public, the exhibition should also be attractive to those with some prior knowledge who want to know what the challenges are at CERN today, as a recent survey highlighted the need for this.

The new Microcosm exhibition will use up-to-date technologies and content, spread across three main zones: "Exploring the Universe", "Accelerators" and "Making Discoveries". While the exhibit is set to be a high-tech experience - incorporating the excellent work carried out by CERN's Medialab, the team behind the interactive LHC tunnel experience - Microcosm will retain many of the popular historical pieces currently in place. Stay tuned to follow the exhibit's progress!

by CERN Bulletin