I flew to Geneva on Thursday 30 November and returned on Sunday 3 December. I discovered a small but important city, located in a perfect location: next to the huge Lake Leman, at the foot of the Alps. On this occasion I could not miss the visit to the CERN particle accelerator.
Geneva is a kind of Sibiu if it had a lake, better jobs and high mountains nearby. The architecture of the city brings Sibiu. French is spoken in Geneva and the inhabitants have an interesting mix between German and French. If Geneva were a person, she would be a blonde Frenchwoman, passionate about mountains and water sports, very well educated and with a job that pays better than the European average.
The Bucharest – Geneva and return flight cost about 200 euros, with not very big stops in Zurich. First impression small and flirty. But I was analyzing it through the lens of the fact that I already knew that in Switzerland, namely Geneva, people live very well and earn much more than the European average.
On the first day, I visited CERN, which you can reach in about 30 minutes from the center, by tram 18. For the visit, I made an appointment 2 weeks in advance on the CERN website. It is very easy to miss the appointment as there is a significant number of requests for these tours. The tour consists of 2 hours with a university professor and takes you through a presentation room, to decommissioned particle accelerator and analysis facilities, through the courtyard of the complex, past one of the Atlas detector control centers.
I was impressed with the visitor center and the fact that all visitor services are free. It can be seen that the European Organization for Nuclear Research tries its best to be very transparent, given that it swallows significant amounts of money allocated to research. And not for nothing – I don’t know how many know that many medical technologies in current use now came from research done at CERN for original scientific purposes. Oh, and the world wide web also came from CERN out of concern for easier communication between researchers all over the world. Romania also contributes to CERN.
I stayed 5 hours in total. There is also a small tour that you can do right from the visitor center, with equipment in display cases or equipment reproductions. The exhibition is fascinating. Especially the particle cloud chamber where you can view live the cosmic particles that pass through us, past us, everywhere. (hint 1). There is also a small souvenir shop where you can also buy data storage boxes resulting from particle collisions – data that the researchers probably don’t need anymore.
In short, it is well worth visiting CERN, especially since it is not difficult to get there.
On the second day we walked a little around Geneva (when we were walking there was a marathon in full swing through the city center) and, together with a friend from Geneva, we chose to visit a small town 30 minutes away by train – Nyon. The sunset over the lake, the castles, the yachts… speachless. And the mountains that can be seen on the horizon. I have no words except pictures..
In Nyon, on the shores of Lake Leman, in the Leman restaurant, near the street of lost time (for real) I tasted the best fries ever – in the perfect balance of crunch and size. Well, but small and just the right amount of crispy. Accompanied by one of the best burgers ever. Bill about 60 euros, hamburger, salad, potatoes, large salad with chicken, beers, etc. Not bad, and by the lake.
A condensing particle chamber (Wilson Cloud Chamber) is a particle detector used to visualize the passage of ionizing radiation. Subatomic particles can be watched live as they move through the chamber. Such a chamber consists of a sealed environment containing a vapor supersaturated with water or alcohol. An energetically charged particle (eg, an alpha or beta particle) interacts with the gas mixture by knocking electrons from gas molecules through electrostatic forces during collisions, resulting in a trail of ionized gas particles. The resulting ions act as condensation centers around which a droplet-like track forms if the gas mixture is at the condensation point. These droplets are visible as a “cloud” trail that persists for several seconds as the droplets fall through the vapor. These pieces have characteristic shapes. For example, an alpha particle track is thick and straight, while an electron track is jagged and shows more evidence of collisional deformations. Cloud chambers played a prominent role in experimental particle physics from the 1920s to the 1950s, until the advent of the bubble chamber. In particular, the discoveries of the positron in 1932 by Carl Anderson (awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics in 1936), and of the muon in 1936, used cloud chambers. In each case, cosmic rays were the source of the ionizing radiation.