ATLAS pops up at star-studded NY launch

31 May 2010

Emma and Anton at the New York Academy of Sciences

Voyage to the Heart of Matter the incredible pop-up book that tells the story of the LHC, ATLAS, and all they hope to discover together made a great voyage of its own last week when it journeyed to the USA. The book was officially launched on the other side of the Atlantic on Tuesday evening, at the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS).

In front of a sell-out audience of 330 people, author Emma Sanders demonstrated some of the intricate ATLAS-themed pop-ups designed by paper-folding expert Anton Radevsky. Alongside her, physics superstar Lisa Randall spoke about the exotic physics which the LHC might uncover, and ATLAS US Operations Program manager Michael Tuts reported the latest news from the front line of the ATLAS Experiment.

Adrienne Burke, Director of Public Outreach at the NYAS later commented that, "an Academy Board member asked how we will ever be able to follow up on such a fantastic event."

Earlier in the day, Emma took questions and showcased the book for magazine journalists and the New York Times. The book is already a huge success story, and has been picked up by Science, New Scientist, and Wired, amongst many others.

The first run of the book was sold out in the UK within two months, and more had to be shipped out from Geneva to cope with pre-Christmas demand. With the new US edition identifiable by its silver sleeve a total of 10,000 copies will have been printed.

This latest edition has an improved design and layout, and a couple of modifications to the mechanisms of some of the pop-ups, after the previous version was “almost too springy!” according to Emma. It should reach the shops in the US by the end of June, when ATLAS will also receive 500 copies of the silver edition to sell at CERN.

“When the project began almost three years ago now, Markus Nordberg gave me the brief that he wanted to see the book in Barnes and Noble when he went to New York,” remembers Emma. “I don‘t know if he was serious, but I took him at his word and now finally feel we‘ve got there,” she says, unable to credit Anton and his “fabulous designs” highly enough.

Copies of the book were flying off the tables at the launch event, and Emma and Anton were so busy signing copies with their silver pens that they didn‘t have chance to move from their stations all evening. A dedication to Brookhaven National Lab was one of the more unusual requests the pair received and, yes, Lisa Randall loved the book and left with two copies under her arm.

“We did briefly discuss whether the extra dimension of a pop-up would help conveying some of the notions of extra dimensions in physics,” says Emma, reporting: “She thought it would!”

Head to this week's Photo Gallery for more pictures and a video of the New York launch.


Ceri Perkins

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