Today, CERN held a first stone ceremony for Science Gateway, the Laboratory’s new flagship project for science education and outreach. Fabiola Gianotti, CERN’s Director-General, John Elkann, Chairman of Stellantis and the FCA Foundation, the main donor, Renzo Piano, architect and founder of Renzo Piano Building Workshop, and Antonio Hodgers, representing the Geneva Canton, were present to mark the successful start of its construction. Ursula Bassler, President of the CERN Council, contributed to the ceremony remotely. Representatives from CERN Member and Associate Member States, Host States and many other partners were also in attendance at the ceremony.
When the Laboratory opened in 1954, its Convention already promoted openness and commitment to education and outreach. Almost seventy years and over two million visitors later, CERN is increasing its capacity to welcome visitors of all ages, from near and far and extending its educational portfolio with a view to increasingly inspiring future generations towards science and research. Hundreds of thousands of visitors per year will have the opportunity to go on a captivating journey through the science, the discoveries and the technology at CERN, guided by the people who make it all possible.
Scheduled to open in 2023, the CERN Science Gateway has environmental sustainability at its core. It will be an iconic, carbon-neutral building and a local landmark, surrounded by a 400-tree freshly planted forest. Closely connected to the CERN campus, the Science Gateway will also feature a modular 900-seat auditorium, immersive spaces, laboratories for hands-on activities for visitors from age 5 up, and many other interactive learning opportunities.
An exhibition on the Esplanade des Particules details the project and its connection to CERN.
“I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the many partners in our Member and Associate Member States and beyond who are making the CERN Science Gateway possible, in particular to our generous donors. The challenging times we’ve been through over the past 18 months have demonstrated the enduring value and the necessity of science and the need for cooperation across borders. Science brings people together and shows what humanity can achieve when we put our differences aside and focus on the common good. Science gives hope and trust in a better future. We want the CERN Science Gateway to inspire all those who come to visit with the beauty and the values of science,” said CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti during her opening speech.
“It is with joy and pride that we are launching today this ambitious project where, thanks to the collaboration of different skills, nationalities and languages, we will build a place of exchange and knowledge. A bridge, forever bridges! A glass bridge, which links the different themes and parts of Science Gateway while also allowing a physical encounter between researchers and children, visitors and physicists, tourists and scientists, all driven by curiosity and the thirst for knowledge,” said Renzo Piano, the internationally renowned architect, whose notable buildings include the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and the Shard in London.
“At Stellantis we strongly believe in the importance of education, with an emphasis in the fields of science and technology,” said John Elkann, Chairman of Stellantis and the FCA Foundation. “Supporting STEM education has proven to be the most effective way to keep our societies open and safe as we have learned this last year by overcoming the Covid-19 crisis.”
“CERN Science Gateway is a great way to democratise scientific research and a spectacular entrance gate to Geneva,” said Antonio Hodgers, Geneva State Councillor in charge of Territorial Planning.
“We will do our best, not only in the construction and operation of the Science Gateway, but also more widely, to ensure that science maintains a place of integrity and trustworthiness, of international collaboration aiming for peace”, said Ursula Bassler, President of the CERN Council.
Video (download): https://videos.cern.ch/record/2773601