Researchers’ Night 2015: exploring science in movies, comics, poetry and games

On Friday, 25 September, CERN will be celebrating the European Researchers’ Night with a series of events and activities at the Balexert shopping centre. From celebrity Q&A sessions to author signings, there’s something for everyone!


The fun will kick off prior to the night itself, with a number of pre-events held throughout September. From 8 to 12 September, a mock-up of the LHC tunnel will be installed in the central court of the Balexert shopping centre. Representatives from CERN will be on hand to speak to shoppers, and to encourage them to participate in Researchers’ Night.

On 24 September, at “Made of shadow and light”, an event hosted by the University of Geneva, Nobel laureate in Literature Gao Xingjian, will present poems and drawings created specifically for the event. Sergio Bertolucci, CERN Director of Research and Computing, will provide a scientific perspective on the content. Three POPScience poets - Gwyneth Lewis, Deborah D’Agostino and Susanne Stephan - will also present their poetry inspired by science and their recent CERN visit.

That same day, Jorge Cham, creator of PHD Comics, will be giving a talk in CERN’s Main Auditorium. Cham will explore the guilt and the myths associated with procrastination, arguing that it is actually a good thing! Cham will also be signing copies of his books before and after the talk, and will also introduce a CERN screening of The PHD Movie 2.

Now to the event itself! Friday, 25 September will be jam-packed, with activities starting at 10 a.m. and wrapping-up at 1 a.m. the next day. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Authors and illustrators will be signing their works and speaking with fans at FNAC: Jorge Cham (PHD Comics), Gao Xingjian (Nobel laureate), Jaouen (Eternum), Michel Spiro (Si tu devais me dessiner l’Univers) and Camille Ladousse (illustrator of CERN’s Passport to the Big Bang).
  • It’s gloves off as The PHD Movie and The Big Bang Theory compete! Jorge Cham, director of The PHD Movie, and David Saltzberg*, CMS physicist and scientific consultant for the TV show The Big Bang Theory, will talk about the projects and their impact on the public perception of science.
  • Lawrence Krauss*, author of The Physics of Star Trek and Kip Thorne*, scientific consultant for the film Interstellar, will join CERN scientists Maurizio Pierini, and Lillian Smestad to explore the science of Hollywood blockbusters.
  • At the Pathé cinema, ESA astronaut Roberto Vittori*, ISS expert Jules Grandsire and AMS physicist Laurent Derome will explore the science in the movie Gravity.
  • Throughout the day, in Balexert’s Place de la Fontaine, CERN scientists will be giving demonstrations about the states of matter using liquid nitrogen. These “Fun with Physics” demonstrations will involve and enthuse the whole family.­­ In addition, there will be a demonstration of augmented reality and poetry readings.
  • The evening will conclude with a special screening of Particle Fever, with special guests Mark Levinson* (the film’s director), Fabiola Gianotti (CERN Director-General Designate), Martin Aleska (ATLAS physicist) and Mike Lamont (head of LHC operations).

In addition, in association with POPScience, BD Fil, the Comics Festival in Lausanne from 10 to 13 September, will be offering 4 invitations to the first people to register on this DoodleFor the full programme of events and activities, visit the POPScience website!

* Via videoconference.



by Katarina Anthony