It seems that every year is an important year for CERN, and this year is no exception. The LHC’s first long shutdown (LS1) is, of course, the focus of activities, but 2013 is also an opportunity for us to showcase our facilities to the public, to the media, to decision makers and to our neighbours. I’m aware that the number of visitors coming to CERN is already breaking records, and I’d like to thank everyone for the efforts you are making to accommodate them while the LS1 work is going on.
The people of the Geneva region have hosted CERN for almost 60 years, and we have become an important part of the local community. That’s a big responsibility, and over recent years we have been reinforcing our engagement with the local region through dedicated programmes for primary schools, high schools and teachers and an annual information session for the local and international community.
An important part of this initiative is the Passport to the Big Bang scientific tourism project, which we have built up with our partners in the Pays de Gex and Geneva, and which will be launched on 2 June with a series of group cycle rides for all ages taking in some of the Passport to the Big Bang sites. Later in the year in September, we’ll be opening our doors to the public in what promises to be CERN’s biggest open day weekend ever. You can read more about both these events in the previous issue of the Bulletin and you’ll have already received the call for volunteers.
In my message this week, it’s that call that I’d like to reinforce. The message we want to pass to our visitors on our open days, and at the inauguration of Passport to the Big Bang, is that “Our universe is yours”. To make that true, however, we need your help, and I encourage you to sign up. I have taken part in many such events at CERN in the past, I have always found them to be extremely rewarding, and I will be on duty again this year. I look forward to seeing many of you there, sharing your passion with our neighbours and visitors from further afield.