The world's largest scientific experiment is underway. Hundreds of feet below the peaceful countryside of Geneva, a gigantic particle accelerator is poised to recreate the Big Bang.
The so-called Large Hadron Collider is a tubular track constructed by the international organization CERN, about 17 miles long, with thousands of superconducting magnets each weighing about 27 tons. Inside the track, protons are accelerated and made to collide at almost exactly the speed of light.
The experiments at CERN could revolutionize science. They will give scientists a chance to understand the fundamental mysteries of the Universe, such as: where does the Universe come from? What is the origin of mass? Are there extra dimensions?
The experiments are also an example of dozens of nations working together, united in the quest for expanding human knowledge. An illustration is the cooperation between CERN and NASA in the AMS-02 project. The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer is currently on its way from Geneva to the Kennedy Space Center, from where it will be carried to the International Space Station.
The Embassy of Switzerland invites you to a discussion featuring experts from the European and American scientific community. The panel will explain why this is such a historic occasion, present the cooperation with NASA, and comment on whether the experiments could create a black hole.
During the discussion, there will be a video interview with Captain Mark E. Kelly, Commander of NASA's space shuttle mission with the AMS-02, and a live video link to CERN's LHC Command Center in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dr. William F. Brinkman was confirmed by the Senate on June 19, 2009 and sworn in on June 30, 2009 as the Director of the Office of Science in the U.S. Department of Energy. The Office of Science is the Federal Government’s largest single funder of materials and chemical sciences, and it supports unique and vital parts of U.S. research in climate change, geophysics, genomics, life sciences, and science education. Dr. Brinkman brings decades of experience in managing scientific research in government, academia, and the private sector to the post. He previously held prominent positions at Bell Laboratories and serves as a senior research physicist in the Department of Physics at Princeton University.
Prof. Dr. Felicitas Pauss is the Coordinator for External Relations at CERN, Geneva, and Professor for Experimental Particle Physics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) in Switzerland. Her research activities concentrate on two main fields: Particle Physics at the High-Energy Frontier and Astroparticle Physics, addressing fundamental open questions about the structure of the Universe and the underlying mechanisms that govern its evolution. From 1997 till 2007 she was Director of the Institute for Particle Physics of ETH Zurich. Since January 2009, she is in charge of coordinating CERN’s external relations.
Dr. Ian Shipsey is the Julian Schwinger Distinguished Professor of Physics at Purdue University. He received a B.Sc. from Queen Mary, London in 1982 and a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh in 1986. He was a post doctoral fellow and research professor at Syracuse University before joining Purdue in 1990. For most of his career, Professor Shipsey has studied the fundamental particles known as quarks. He is the co-coordinator of the LHC Physics Center at Fermi National Laboratory near Chicago. He is also one of the nearly 3,000 members of the Compact Muon Solenoid Experiment (CMS) at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.
Dr. Mark Trodden is the Fay R. and Eugene L. Langberg Professor of Physics and Co-Director of the Center for Particle Cosmology at the University of Pennsylvania. He works at the interface of cosmology and particle physics theory in constructing and investigating models that may shed light on the fundamental physics origins of dark matter, dark energy, the early cosmos and other physics beyond the Standard Model.
Ambassador Urs Ziswiler
Ambassador Urs Ziswiler arrived in Washington, D.C. as Swiss Ambassador to the United States in May 2006. Prior to his current posting, he served as Head of the Political Directorate in Bern, the second highest ranking diplomat in the Swiss Foreign Service. His career led him from the World Bank to the International Committee of the Red Cross, EFTA, and to head the Political Division for Human Rights. Previous postings include the European Union, the Balkans, Argentina, Israel and Nigeria. Ambassador Ziswiler is fluent in German, English, French, Spanish and Italian and speaks basic Arabic.