Spreading the word

22 February 2010

Tweeting particle physics

With the ‘First Physics Day’ press event just weeks away, we can expect a curious public to be looking our way again soon. With that in mind, ATLAS Outreachers have been coming up with new and interesting ways to bridge the gap between the interested layperson and the reality of life and particle physics at ATLAS.

First up, we now have our own blog. It started life in December 2009 as the Counting Room Blog, but in the interests of public clarity, has recently been re-named as the Control Room Blog. The brainchild of Leo Rossi, the blog intends to “transmit news out of the very heart of a frontier experiment”.

A crew of nine bloggers has been assembled – “this is not a closed club, more can join,” says Leo – and a team of four editors from Physics Coordination, Run Control and ATLAS Outreach is in place to approve each of their posts before they go live. The bloggers are being encouraged to think carefully about their opening gambits, because soon these will start being fed out automatically as ATLAS Control Room twitter tweets.

“The blog and twitter are not meant to give scientific information,” assures Leo, for those who may be harbouring confidentiality concerns, “but more some highlights, and how some young scientists see themselves as part of a challenging adventure.”

How collaborators see themselves is also the focus of a new nine-minute film put together by Alison Lister, Josiane Uwantege, Michael Barnett and Claudia Marcelloni. What We Do Is Not In Textbooks borrows its title from a line uttered by Monica Dunford, as she explains the fascination with working at the forefront of physics. The film features 15 collaborators from diverse geographical and cultural origins, and subtly dismantles the viewer’s preconceptions about what a particle physicist might be like, asking questions about their childhood dreams, hobbies and motivations.

Josiane was also kept busy at the end of last year putting together a set of short montage videos of the ATLAS detector being assembled in the cavern. She used archive photos and video footage, and you can take your pick – depending on how much coffee you have left in your cup, and how impatient you are by nature – of whether you want to see the full assembly take place over one minute, three minutes, or five.

Another project, in an embryonic stage right now, involves the filming and editing of a set of ‘bite-sized’ documentary-style interview clips with people from all areas of ATLAS, possibly to be used at Point 1 on First Physics Day, and to loop on the screens in the ATLAS area of the Building 40 coffee area. Steve Goldfarb takes on a role as presenter/interviewer, and external expert Yves-René Kayonga is working with Claudia Marcelloni on the technical side.

Finally, if you’re planning some Outreach activities yourself, there are updated resources available to you on the net. The atlas.ch website has undergone major changes in layout and organisation. Elsewhere, Multimedia Competition-winner Phil Owen’s final project about the Standard Model – featuring several animations which could be of use for public presentations – is now online, and atlas.ch and CDS have been updated with images and videos from last years’ exciting first beam and first collision moments.


Ceri Perkins

ATLAS e-News