Anyway, the exhibition, organized by DESY, the German particle physics laboratory based in Hamburg, was on display this December in Heidelberg, in the large foyer of the Kirchhoff Institute for Physics of the University. Experimentalist from Heidelberg are contributing to the ATLAS, ALICE, and LHCb experiments.
The exhibition provides a nice introduction in the known facts and open issues of particle physics, and in the techniques to accelerate particles and detect and analyse the collision products. I was there on Saturday afternoon last week, and was surprised that quite a lot of people were around, despite the cold and the snow that had gripped Heidelberg that weekend.
The most fascinating exhibit to me was a spark chamber, where the ionisation of gas by charged particles triggers sparks between high-voltage wires.
Although this is detector technology that is not used anymore at the LHC, it is compelling how it makes visible the constant shower of ionising particles in the cosmic radiation, which we usually are completely unaware of. It was quite easy to catch a couple of events with my digital camera, just by photographing the chamber at random moments:
The next stopover of the exibition will be Frankfurt – if you are around by chance in the second half of January, it is worth a visit.