CERN inaugurates a scientific tourist trail, the Passport to the Big Bang

On 2 June 2013 CERN1, in collaboration with its local partners, will be inaugurating a scientific tourist trail through the Pays de Gex and the Canton of Geneva known as the Passport to the Big Bang. A major programme of activities has been organised for the general public at various CERN sites, including special events and bike rides.

The trail through the local countryside, between 10 exhibition platforms located at 10 different CERN sites, will follow the course of the huge underground ring of the LHC particle accelerator. The mini-exhibitions on the platforms will explain the fundamental research conducted at CERN and their spin-offs and will include telescopes similar to those that can be found at tourist spots. By looking into the telescopes visitors will be able to watch short video sequences illustrating different aspects of CERN science and technology. Visitors will also be able to take part in an online game called the “LHC Mission” using the interactive terminals located on each platform.

This project is one of our initiatives to reinforce the dialogue between CERN and the local French and Swiss communities” explains CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer. “CERN is a unique scientific partner from which the inhabitants of the local area can derive greater benefit through educational and tourist projects.

The project has been selected to form part of the Programme de coopération territoriale européenne INTERREG IV A France Suisse 2007-2013. As such, it is benefitting from funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and from the Canton of Geneva. It has also obtained funding from the Fondation meyrinoise pour la promotion culturelle, sportive et sociale and benefits from a subsidy from the Fondation Genève Tourisme & Congrès.

The 10 platforms, located in eight French and Swiss communes, are linked by 54 km of signposted itineraries. These itineraries and their signposting have been organised in collaboration with the Communauté de Communes du Pays de Gex and with the help of the Conseil général de l’Ain and the Département de l’intérieur, de la mobilité et de l’environnement de l’Etat de Genève. The communes, the French and Swiss Tourist Offices, Altec (the Centre de culture scientifique, technique et industrielle de l’Ain) and Meyrinroule have also contributed to the project.

A Passport to the Big Bang booklet containing all the necessary information and a number of riddles to be solved will be available from the beginning of June at mairies, tourist offices and the CERN Reception, and will also be downloadable from the project web site (


The Passport to the Big Bang trail will be launched with a major public event on Sunday, 2 June. In the morning, families will be able to participate in a bike ride, whilst those of a sportier disposition can test themselves on a 54-kilometre mountain bike rally. The trail will be officially inaugurated at noon on CERN’s Prévessin site. In the afternoon various events will be organised at the 10 sites of the trail by CERN and its clubs, local clubs and associations and schools and universities in the region. It is free to take part and all are welcome to participate.


A press conference will be held on Monday, 27 May, at 10:30 a.m. in the CERN Reception building. Please inform the CERN Press Office if you wish to attend the press conference:

+ 41 22 767 34 32


Further information on the project and its inauguration can be found at:

Photos :

Poster and programme of the launch event:


1. CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its member states are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Romania is a candidate for accession. Israel and Serbia are associate members in the pre-stage to membership. India, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have observer status.

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