Although art and theoretical physics may seem like poles apart, they share a deep connection. The synergy between these disciplines lies in their shared goal of understanding the fundamental nature of the world around us. Both artists and theoretical physicists strive to create models that can help us unravel the complexities of the Universe.


The project Exploring the Unknown:

Set in the dynamic environment of the CERN Science Gateway, Exploring the Unknown is more than an art-science exhibition; it’s a space that bridges the gap between the known and the unknown, prompting reflection on some of the most profound and universal questions.

The project is designed to explore three main themes – Space & Time, the Void (the Quantum Vacuum), and the Invisible (Dark Matter) – and uses art as a means of expressing and exploring the creativity that is awoken when one contemplates the Universe.

Curiosity and wonder in the face of the Universe’s mysteries underpin the exhibition’s narrative. The space will feature a diverse representation of artists and mediums aspiring to create an array of multisensory experiences that provide new ways of engaging with audiences.


The commissioned works:

Each commissioned artwork is loaned to CERN for a three-year period before being returned to the artist. The artworks will then be exhibited in other venues, providing increased exposure and reach for the project beyond the local area close to CERN.

In the autumn of 2023, CERN installed the first series of artworks commissioned specifically for the Science Gateway. Four artists were selected to create new works for the opening exhibition: Julius von Bismarck and Benjamin Maus (DE), Ryoji Ikeda (JPN), Chloé Delarue (CH), and Yunchul Kim (KOR).

These artists are all former residents of CERN's renowned arts and science programme, “Arts at CERN”. They have interacted with scientists, visited the Laboratory, and conducted research on the exhibition's themes.

CERN has already chosen the first artist to be commissioned in the next iteration of Exploring the Unknown in 2026: Rosa Barba, a German-Italian artist based in Berlin, who will create a new and impressive installation inspired by the themes of the Invisible and Dark Matter.


The impact:

Besides providing a fruitful synergy between arts and science, the exhibition will serve as a dynamic and engaging viewing experience for visitors to the Science Gateway.

It will showcase the incredible work of multiple artists but also explore new horizons in contemporary art through the lens of science.

It will pave the way for innovative and thought-provoking projects that blur the lines between the two fields.



Sponsoring Exploring the Unknown at CERN's Science Gateway is an excellent way for organisations, foundations, and businesses to engage in the creation of an art-science exhibition. The CERN & Society Foundation is currently looking for sponsors for the next iteration of Exploring the Unknown in 2026.

Organisations and businesses sponsoring this venture will not only support the exhibition's development but also foster a meaningful interaction between science and art. They will facilitate a dialogue extending beyond traditional boundaries, helping visitors to consider their place in the cosmos.

This is YOUR chance to contribute to an endeavour that illuminates the mysteries of our Universe, transforming curiosity into a shared experience of awe and wonder.

Contact us at


The non-Member State (NMS) PhD Studentship Scheme provides young, high-calibre PhD students with the opportunity to participate in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) experiments, in addition to other scientific and technological activities in the CERN programme. The scheme offers students in particle physics, applied physics, information technology (IT), computing and engineering from NMS a unique chance to deepen their knowledge in a truly unique organisation. They will get involved in world-famous experiments and accelerator projects of unprecedented scale and scope and will bring new skills and a range of expertise back to their home countries and regions.

How it started:

The original programme, the “ATLAS PhD Grant Scheme”, was founded in 2014 by Fabiola Gianotti and Peter Jenni, former ATLAS spokespersons, who donated the Fundamental Physics Special Breakthrough Prize awarded for their leading role in the discovery of the Higgs boson. Now, after many successful years, and thanks to the pilot scheme for doctoral studentships for students from CERN NMS, the programme has evolved into this new initiative.

The Studentship Scheme:

Selected candidates receive a studentship to work towards a PhD thesis while spending up to two years at CERN, at the forefront of science, over the full period of their PhD studies.

Our objectives:

  •  Provide opportunities for young, high-calibre PhD students in particle physics, applied physics, IT, computing and engineering to obtain world-class exposure, supervision and training in CERN experiments and accelerator projects.
  • Deliver on CERN’s capacity-building target by providing training in the fields of particle physics and related areas.
  • Give students the chance to bring new skills and a range of expertise back to their home countries and regions.
  • Boost participation in the LHC/High-Luminosity LHC and future major projects at CERN.
  • Give students in countries with limited exposure to CERN the chance to become CERN ambassadors.

Eligibility and qualifications:

All NMS nationalities are eligible to apply to the NMS PhD Studentship Scheme; you can find the list here.

Since diversity and inclusion are an integral part of CERN’s mission and are established values of the Organization, priority will be given to students studying in developing countries or regions and to those studying in countries and regions with developing particle physics communities.

To qualify for a place, PhD students will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be enrolled in university and have completed at least one year of PhD studies.
  • Have already have agreed on their thesis subject with their home university or are looking for one.
  • Have a good knowledge of English and/or French.

Responsibility for full PhD supervision and awarding of the degree lies with the home university; daily co-supervision while at CERN is by a CERN staff member.

Application period:

Please note that the application period has expired on 30 August 2023 CEST .

The programme for PhD students from non-Member states is only possible thanks to generous donations from individuals, companies and foundations.

Support the scientists of tomorrow by making a donation now!

Reaching new audiences by ‘going where the people are’


The CERN festival programme is a way to spread CERN’s spirit of curiosity to the world by interacting with people where they are, reaching out to current and future social and cultural influencers.

With a Science Pavilion present at different music festivals around the world, the project is designed to reach national populations at large, including audiences that are not necessarily interested or attracted by the scientific domain, and with the ultimate goal to encourage people’s interest in STEM and attract future scientific talents. 

The Festival Programme is unique in several ways: 

  1. It takes place at music and culture festivals.
  2. It targets members of the public that do not usually go to scientific events and would be unlikely to travel to CERN. 
  3. It presents science activities for all ages and knowledge in the form of talks, shows and workshops.

Born in 2016, with a first Science Pavilion at a festival in the UK, that attracted 4500 people in 3 days of festival. In 2019, the programme already reached 4 festivals in 4 different countries with more than 20.000 participants at the Science Pavilion!

Impact on society:

  • Fostering awareness about science.
  • Proving that science, and more particularly basic scientific concepts, are accessible to all if explained and demonstrated in plain language and in an engaging way.
  • Explaining the need, value and impact of science on society.   
  • Taking the opportunity to bring CERN to a broader range of audiences by explaining what physicists, engineers and technicians are doing at CERN.
  • For a young audience, providing information and advice about scientific matters, education etc. (experience has shown that some parents were surprised to discover their children’s curiosity and passion for science), and possibly seeding the next generation of scientists.

Do you believe in science and in the importance of spreading scientific knowledge all around the globe? 

Support the CERN Festival programme with a donation and inspire the scientists of tomorrow, we need young brilliant minds to overcome the main global challenges that we are facing nowadays. 


Biology Dynamics Modeller

Many of the technologies that are developed for purely scientific purposes in pursuit of CERN’s fundamental research mission have great potential to directly impact and benefit society at large.

One such technology that could tackle various global needs is the Biology Dynamics Modeller (BioDynaMo): open source, agent-based, simulation software that was originally designed to simulate the behaviour of billions of cells. Agent-based modelling (ABM) is a powerful methodology for studying complex systems in biology, epidemiology, economics, social sciences, medicine and more.

The main advantage of BioDynaMo compared to other, similar, tools is that it has been heavily optimised to take full advantage of modern (multi-core and GPU) hardware and can greatly reduce simulation time, thus allowing researchers to simulate several scenarios in a reasonable time frame. The BioDynaMo project draws on CERN’s experience in large-scale computing. More specifically, CERN’s experience in running large-scale open source projects and its know-how in code modernisation and hardware acceleration were essential to developing the high-performance simulation engine that forms the core of BioDynaMo.

These features have convinced many labs to switch to running their simulations using BioDynaMo. Moreover, during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, CERN launched a collaboration with the Institute of Global Health of the University of Geneva to adapt BioDynaMo to run simulations on the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus through a

CERN is now raising funds to use BioDynaMo to address three highly relevant societal needs:

The project will also contribute to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): good health and well-being (SDG 3), industry innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9), reduced inequalities (SDG 10), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11) and partnership for the goals (SDG 17).

If you want to find out more, visit or

If you are interested in supporting this programme, contact us at


At the forefront of scientific research and innovation, CERN unites people from all over the world to push the frontiers of science and technology for the benefit of all. Over the years, CERN’s research has been bringing real world changes in society, and we aim to keep doing that for generations to come.

The CERN Technology Impact Fund is a new framework to support CERN technologies with a strong potential to address existing global societal issues, as identified by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

Under this mechanism, the CERN Knowledge Transfer group identifies promising CERN technologies and, with the help of the CERN & Society Foundation, increases their maturity to reach concrete applications in support of UN SDGs.


CERN Technology Impact Fund projects aim to bridge the gap between the technological outputs of CERN’s research and their end applications in a way that will address existing global or local societal challenges – particularly those identified in the UN SDGs.


An effective partnership between multiple actors is essential to ensure the success of this endeavour. If you wish to support the CERN Technology Impact Fund or learn more about how you can be involved, please Contact Us.

These are the projects that are currently being developed:


Innovative ideas and technologies from physics have contributed to great advances in the field of medicine over the last 100 years, since the advent of radiation-based medical diagnosis and treatment and following the discovery of X-rays and radioactivity.

Radioisotopes are already widely used by the medical community for imaging, diagnosis and radiation therapy. However, many of those currently used do not combine the most appropriate physical and chemical properties and therefore do not target tumours closely enough. In some cases, a different type of radiation could be better suited. 

CERN-MEDICIS (Medical Isotopes Collected from ISOLDE) is a unique facility designed to produce radioisotopes with the right properties to enhance the precision of both patient imaging and treatment, and provide the opportunity to radically improve the success of cancer treatment. It will expand the range of radioisotopes available for medical research – some of which can be produced only at CERN – and send them to hospitals and research centres in Switzerland and across Europe for further study. 

Great strides have been made recently in the use of radioisotopes for diagnosis and treatment, and MEDICIS will enable researchers to devise and test unconventional radioisotopes with a view to developing new approaches to fight cancer.

CERN-MEDICIS demonstrates again how CERN technologies can benefit society beyond their use for our fundamental research. With its unique facilities and expertise, CERN is committed to maximising the impact of CERN technologies in our everyday lives.
- Frédérick Bordry, former CERN’s Director for Accelerators and Technology
At Arts at CERN we pioneer new ways of bringing together artists and scientists, lead the conversation about art and science, and support artistic innovation and openness to research environments.
- Monica Bello, Curator and Head of Arts at CERN.


Arts at CERN, the Laboratory's distinguished arts programme, facilitates meaningful exchanges between the realms of art and science. Each of Arts at CERN’s programmes is crafted in collaboration with cultural institutions, other partner laboratories, cities and artistic communities that are eager to connect with CERN's research, support our activities and contribute to a global network of art and science.

  • Art residencies: Arts at CERN invites artists from all creative disciplines to spend dedicated time within CERN and in dialogue with CERN’s community. Through these experiences, artists gain firsthand insight into the pursuit of fundamental questions about the universe through particle physics. 
  • Collide is our international residency award organised every three years in partnership with a city. It invites artists from around the world to further their artistic practice in connection with fundamental science. 
  • Connect, launched in 2021 in collaboration with the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, serves as a global platform for dialogue between artistic and scientific communities. It offers two residency opportunities: one at CERN for Swiss-based artists, and another combined residency at CERN and an international location in collaboration with prestigious scientific and cultural organisations, such as those in Chile, South Africa, and India.
  • Art Commissions: Arts at CERN supports the production of new artworks following the artists’ research and time spent in the Laboratory, and with the support of the scientific partners, experiments, companies and institutions.
  • Exhibitions & Events: Our exhibitions and events extend the reach of our artistic programmes, creating dialogues with audiences interested in science and culture.

If you also believe in the combined creative power of art and science to explore and make sense in the universe, please help us keep the dialogue going. 


In line with one of CERN’s key philosophies of promoting open access to information, KiCad is an important tool for designing open-source hardware, allowing designers to share their work and increase their business in the most efficient way.

A Free and Open Source Software PCB design tool, KiCad runs on the computer operating systems GNU/Linux, Windows and Apple OS X, and it is licensed under the GNU Public License (GPL).

The objective of its development is to enhance its functionality, making it an efficient tool for PCB design, which people can use to share their design information without compromising productivity. This will ensure that there are no artificial barriers to the sharing of information, so that design and development knowledge can flow more freely.

Benefitting from a wide community of users that actively contribute time and money to its development, KiCad gives back not only to Open Hardware designers themselves, but also to students and academic institutions.
Thanks to KiCad development, students are able to use professional-quality PCB design tools free from constraints imposed by cost, functionality, or intellectual property restrictions. They will also be able to contribute to further improving the tool for the benefit of others, even outside of regular lecture times, an activity with a high educational value in itself and which will increase their employment potential.

Should you wish to continue to support KiCad, you can now give through an account made available by KSC and through the Linux Foundation

In both cases, the use of money from donations is decided exclusively by the KiCad project. For more information, please visit the related article: A significant milestone regarding CERN's involvement in the development of KiCad | CERN & Society Foundation (

Several views of the Computer Center during the installation of servers.
(Image: CERN)


Open Data for Open Science

Despite the fact that the sharing of research findings has advanced science throughout history, today, data is rarely shared following the release of scientific results.

Data is often far too big or complex to find a home in the traditional publication chains. This prevents researchers and scientists from drawing the full benefit from the results of public research, which leads to a duplication of research efforts and therefore a waste of resources that could otherwise be used for furthering original research.

Access to research data is not the only problem though. It is often very difficult or even impossible to interpret the data without also having free access to the code used to perform any analysis which was published.

Free and easy access to research results, data and analysis code - Open Science - is the very heart of the scientific process. All such information must be available to everyone, anywhere in the world, and needs to be safely stored in a long-term repository available for society at large, if we want society to fully benefit from public research results.

Zenodo was born at CERN with the EC’s OpenAIRE project to address this very need, i.e. to make the publishing, sharing and long-term stewardship of scientific data and software a reality for all researchers. Zenodo taps into CERN’s long standing tradition and know-how in sharing and preserving scientific knowledge for the benefit of all. The scientific community now has the opportunity to store their data in a non-commercial environment, and freely available for society at large.

Zenodo is already capable of accommodating the needs of modest data sets, but this is just a fraction of the overall need for data services in the scientific field. We need your help to expand Zenodo’s features and storage capabilities. With your donation, we can make Open Science for all possible.

You can find out more about Zenodo and latest developments.