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EXTREME. In search of particles
The ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ National Museum of Science and Technology is now further enriched by a new permanent section: EXTREME. In search of particles to discover the devices and the work of those who explore the infinitely small.
Designed and produced by the museum in partnership with CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, and INFN, the National Institute of Nuclear Physics, this exhibition allows us a glimpse of a fascinating research area which explores the texture of matter in its most infinitesimal components.
The narrative of the exhibition kicks off with the idea of ‘traces’, understood as elements that allow us to recognize and reconstruct an event that cannot be observed directly. Like many other scientific disciplines - from archaeology to forensic science - particle physics also relies on the observation of tracks.
The exhibition continues by showing the devices used by physicists to reveal tracks of the particles, the detectors. Through first-hand experiences, the exhibition enables visitors to experience the ‘cosmic silence’ pursued by researchers under water or underground, in the extreme environments that host the detectors.
An area of the exhibition also illustrates the daily life of physicists, engineers and technicians working on these experiments. Three different interactive installations present the current state of knowledge about subatomic particles and about two issues that are still under study and debate: the existence of dark matter and extra-dimensions.
A significant part of the exhibition is devoted to accelerators, devices that enable the creation of new particles and new tracks that can be investigated, by colliding particles at increasing energies. This is the area where the LHC – the large ring accelerator currently in use at CERN – is the real protagonist.
Admission to the exhibition is included in the museum ticket.