“Welcome to the CMS Experiment. We are 100 metres underground and I will now pass by the eye scanner to take you for a virtual tour and show you our massive scientific machine,” said CMS physicist, Abdollah Mohammadi, to 200 enthralled students sitting in the hall in the Sharif University of Technology in Iran last Tuesday.
CMS officially launched CMS Virtual Visits a few weeks ago, providing remote participants an opportunity to experience the CMS Experiment by using a video connection. The project began in 2011 when the first virtual connection with Oveges Jozsef Technical College in Hungary was successfully performed by the CMS team.
Since then, many students and public “virtual visitors” were “taken” deep underground to the CMS cavern. We connected with Italy, Spain, Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, UK, USA and the South Pole to show the scientific marvel to university students and visitors to science fairs. Those tours are special as not even visitors physically present in the cavern can approach the detector so close and from such a variety of angles. Our guides step into the most hidden corners of CMS and explain the enormity, complexity and incredible performance of the detector in the language of the visitors.
Recently, CMS Virtual Visits have reached new destinations, welcoming connections from Pakistan, Iran and Egypt, each time with hundreds of participants. The feedback has been encouraging:
Prof. Doc. Ahmed H. Bassiouny, dean of the faculty of science on Mansoura University (Egypt) confirms: “More than 250 students from different faculties: science, engineering, computer science participated in the event. Mansoura University hosted the event and invited other universities: British University in Egypt, Cairo University, Alexandria University and Port Said University.”
Muhammad Adeel from NEDUET in Pakistan enthusiastically claims: “People here at NEDUET are now in action about particle physics, mission accomplished!”
“It was an immense session. Nothing better than this has been done before in the department.” – Umair Ahmed, student.
“Had a great video conference and virtual visit LIVE from CERN. Feeling proud how PAKISTAN have contributions to the research going around the world.” – Zohaib Ali, student.
Mohammad Hassan, B.Sc Student from the Sharif University of Technology, Iran, proudly states: “Thank you for the visit! It was great! EVERYBODY liked that. I really want to excite undergraduates in this field.”
CMS Virtual Visits act as a window into the world of scientific progress and discovery in particle physics research, by offering students, teachers and the wider public from all over the world with a unique opportunity to take a guided walk-and-talk live tour with a researcher through the CMS detector, and to learn how science and technology work together for advancing our understanding of the Universe.
CMS hopes to maintain this fascinating way of promoting big science, and the virtual visits will be continued for as long as the experiment is accessible. The CMS Virtual Visits map starts to look busy and we hope it will grow with time to reach students and science enthusiasts who have no possibility to visit CERN in person.