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CERN Science Gateway Will Open the Magic of Science to Everyone


FCA Foundation supports the Science Gateway project, a new hub for scientific education and culture managed by CERN

CERN Science Gateway

May 16, 2019 - A new scientific education and outreach center designed to engage audiences of all ages in the global heart of fundamental research will soon open in Geneva. It is expected that the Science Gateway will host over 300,000 visitors per year, including students, researchers and others who are simply passionate about the mysteries of the cosmos. Work on the complex will begin in 2020 and the doors will open to the public two years later. As the name suggests, it will be a true gateway to science, a place for welcoming, engaging and educating visitors. The center will host exhibitions that unveil the secrets of nature, from the infinitely small (elementary particles) to the infinitely large (the structure of the universe), as well as exhibits dedicated to the history of the technologies used by CERN. Not to mention classrooms and guided tours with scientists. Areas to experience immersive reality, laboratories where everyone can learn about the laws that govern nature, through hands-on experience. “There are places where our differences are not an obstacle but a strength. Places where different cultures, experiences and languages bring people together instead of keeping them apart. Places where different perspectives allow us to achieve better solutions. CERN is without a doubt such a place”, commented John Elkann, Chairman of both FCA and the FCA Foundation, speaking at the presentation of the initiative in Geneva. The project will be funded through external donations, with the leading contribution coming from FCA Foundation, the charitable foundation created by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

With a footprint of 7,000 square meters, the Science Gateway will satisfy the curiosity of everyone beginning with the very young, providing them access to tools that will help them understand the world around them. The center’s immersive activities will promote critical thinking and evidence-based analysis as well as collaboration and sharing, all to improve knowledge for the good of society as a whole.

“At FCA we're delighted to be supporting this project as part of our social responsibility which also allows us to honor the memory of Sergio Marchionne by naming the main hall after him,” said Elkann. “The link between Sergio and the Science Gateway is profoundly significant,” continued Elkann. “Sergio loved physics: he had a strong interest in the universal laws that allow us to understand our world. What Sergio did in his life, in his studies and in his career, and also what is being done here every day at CERN, is fundamentally linked with numbers: data, measurable quantities, comparisons with reality and continuous tests and double-checks. But numbers only describe a part of this work. The other side, equally important, deals with imagination, with the courage to challenge conventional wisdoms and the ability to make possible the seemingly impossible.”

Science Gateway and CERN, over to Fabiola Gianotti

CERN Science Gateway Interior

Twenty thousand scientists, between in-house staff and researchers, of 110 nationalities, working for institutes in over 70 countries. Twenty-three member states and a history that started back in 1954 with an all-European joint venture when the decision was made to build the largest laboratory for particle physics in the world on the border between France and Switzerland. These are just a few of the facts behind CERN, the complex that uses the largest, most complex scientific tools in the world to study the fundamental components of matter and how they behave when they collide.
“The Science Gateway will enable CERN to expand significantly its education and outreach offering for the general public, in particular the younger generations. We will be able to share with everybody the fascination of exploring and learning how matter and the universe work, the advanced technologies we need to develop in order to build our ambitious instruments and their impact on society, and how science can influence our daily life” – explained Fabiola Gianotti, Director General of CERN.


The projects for schools by Science Gateway and Fondazione Agnelli

As part of the Science Gateway’s educational initiatives, CERN and the FCA Foundation will develop a program for schools, with the advice of the Fondazione Agnelli. According to the approach of inquiry-based learning and problem-solving, throughout the entire school year, students will be involved in activities that will help them understand the phenomena of physics, with the aim of encouraging them to pursue careers in the scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical fields. Through a pilot program in Italy focusing on junior high schools and involving up to 550,000 students, special kits will be provided to classes and students will be invited to take part in a scientific contest. The winners will be awarded a 2-3 day visit to CERN and the Science Gateway in Geneva.
Following an initial period of experimentation, CERN plans to extend this initiative to all its Member States.

The design by Renzo Piano for the Science Gateway

CERN Science Gateway Renzo Piano

Exploring the world and understanding the nature that surrounds us: the driving force that lies behind scientific research is the same concept that the world-renowned architectural firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop chose to express in designing the Science Gateway. The structure on CERN’s Meyrin site, adjacent to another iconic building, the Globe of Science and Innovation, will be composed of multiple buildings nestled among 400 trees. The five purpose-built pavilions, each a different shapes, will be linked by a bridge that serves as the backbone of the entire design, running six meters above the main road to Geneva.
“It’s a place where people will meet,” says Renzo Piano. “Kids, students, adults, teachers and scientists, everybody attracted by the exploration of the Universe, from the infinitely vast to the infinitely small. It is a bridge, in the metaphorical and real sense, and a building fed by the energy of the sun, nestling in the midst of a newly grown forest”. The technologies used to explore the cosmos provide the inspiration for some of the architectural elements, such as the tunnels for CERN’s temporary and permanent exhibitions, which commemorate the famous particle accelerator.

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