(Le post en français ici)
There is a place in Geneva, which is more famous than any other landmark in the city, even if it gets somewhat less visits than the water fountain or the broken chair. It is undoubtedly legendary and iconic. It is not often in the news, but when it is, the bang is global, talked for years and often sparks global, intellectual debates. We cannot claim it in Geneva as our biggest pride, for the only reason that it does not belong to the city, but to the entire humanity. The globe is proud of its achievements. The people who live in the city know people that work there, not always understanding what they are working on and some of us are scared to ask, scared to face the immensity of the human intellect. This place is CERN. The Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire.

The achievements of CERN are known and if not, googling it can flood your brain with numerous remarkable examples. What I wanted to achieve with this post is to reveal that inside this humongous particle accelerator, there is something even bigger: one huge heart. Actually thousands of them. It is always the heart that drives the mind and this is what I asked the bigger-than-life brains to give us a glimpse of. The protagonists of global transformations, the people who are not afraid of the unknown, the people who dare to define the global future, took some time to share with us, what really empowers scientific evolution, what drives them every day when they step into the CERN Globe and how they are making this world a better place for all of us. If you thought it was just about spinning particles, then you are up for a surprise. If you get impressed, intrigued or even jealous by the below, do not worry. CERN’s mission is to bring as many of us as possible into their magical world (they must be doing some magic too for God sake), thus they are generously offering us a unique platform to be part of their journey. How often do you we get the chance to create history with some of the most remarkable brains in the global neighbourhood? See below for more.


or in my books,

1) COLLABORATION across nations
“Watching the daily news of all the world conflicts on one hand and still seeing colleagues from the conflict parties working together hand in hand for a common scientific goal is a wonderful feeling. Take the cold war as an example, which didn’t stop our Russian and American colleagues to cooperate. Another highlight moved our hearts was the Israeli- Palestinian summer student party in August 2007, where some summer students wanted to show that despite the disputes between the two governments, when it comes down to the people, they can easily get along.”
collaborationBeauty of international collaboration in science: Israeli-Palestinian party organised by CERN summer students from the respective countries in 2007 – Image: CERN

2) Worldwide Life-changing INNOVATION
“Everyday on my way from my office to lunch I am walking through a shabby basement floor. Time stands still in the wooden interior design of the 50ies. Uncovered and sometimes dripping bare pipes are passing over my head. The wooden doors are covered with multiple layers of announcements and jokes from generations of students and scientists. The real proud of by all means unspectacular floor I only feel at the end, when I pass the two offices on my right, where the World Wide Web was invented. Looking back a big smile covers my face how it changed the entire world, but left the interior design of this floor untouched.”
wwwWhere the web was born – Image: CERN

3) Science-Life BALANCE
“We shifted our wedding plans as the LHC (Large Hardon Collider, that the entire world was talking about) was about to start. But sometimes life is smarter than every schedule and we ended up getting married on the weekend right before. So half of our friends and colleagues from the control room boarded a plane after a nightshift from Thursday to Friday, flew through half Europe to celebrate with us on Saturday and were back with us in the control room for the Sunday night shift. It leaves us with a warm feeling that “colleague” and “friend” are very close words at CERN.”
atlasActivities on the ATLAS control room during the LHC start up day 9th Sept. 2008 – Image: CERN

“Interdisciplinary is a big word for a group of people doing what they are good at, what they like. But I really enjoy to experience its full power and beauty where the background of the individual doesn’t matter and everybody finds their natural role to contribute with their skills and expertise. This is one of the guiding principles we incorporate in THE Port events (www.theport.ch), where we bring together people from different backgrounds to work on topics beneficial to society.”
portMembers of the SMARTDog Team mentored by Norwegian People’s Aid. Participants from 12 different countries worked together with dog VIKING to improve the efficiency of land de-mining – see their result here at this video – Image: THE Port & CERN

5) Dreaming the UNKNOWN, Defining the FUTURE
“Last year in the circus the Fortune teller welcomed me “What do you want to know?” I left her with “If you don’t know what I will want to know – it is hopeless.”
We are as worse as everybody else in reading the crystal bowl, but since our experiments have to be planned two to three decades ahead I really admire to dream about how technology will evolve and how by working towards our dreams we create self fulfilling prophecies. Ensuring a young colleague that they can change the future is the most fulfilling mentoring experience you can have.”
ATLAS pixel detector as it is pushed into position inside the ATLAS detector in 2013 – Image: CERN

As promised at the begining of this post, this is not just an FYI.  This is an FYA, or For Your Action instead of just your information.  For the average Joe that is not a permanent member of this intellectual elite, CERN is offering us the chance to be part of their dream, their intentions, their achievements, their magic.  Actually CERN and The Port does not believe in average.  Each one of us has unique skills that can build a bigger puzzle, a puzzle that portrays a more beautiful, a more human universe for everybody.  Again this year, CERN through The Port is welcoming our own talents, knowledge and mostly our passion to make a difference.  There is an innovator in all of us, who will join forces with the creativity of other similar passionate folks from all over the world, from all sorts of backgrounds, to act today, to provide smart solutions to global challenges.  All with the intent to make the global puzzle, one that we can all be proud of for our generation and the generations to come.  Check out their site by clicking at the Hackathon pic below.  It is worth it…

The Port Hackathon