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Film series brings CERN people to the world

Created by filmmaker Liz Mermin, a new YouTube series puts the spotlight on CERN people


Created by filmmaker Liz Mermin, a new YouTube series puts the spotlight on CERN people. This set of short films offers new insight into the daily lives of CERN physicists.

The new online video series, CERN people, takes you behind the headlines of some of the biggest physics breakthroughs of our time, capturing the invention and discovery in the lives of CERN’s scientists. “CERN offered a fascinating blend of people from so many different backgrounds combined with exciting and groundbreaking physics,” says filmmaker Liz Mermin. “So, my aim was to show the real-life characters – the ones that stay up all night analysing data and tweaking the code for the experiments – and communicate their passion for particle physics.”

The films give a first-hand experience of what it’s like day-to-day at CERN by showing the ups and downs of working at the frontier of modern science. For the participants, it was an excellent opportunity to talk about their research: “I enjoyed talking about my work on the CMS Trigger in non-technical terms,” says Tulika Bose, who works on the CMS project at CERN. “This project was a good opportunity to document a particularly volatile time with not only the disappointing results in my own work, but also the excitement of the discovery of the Higgs Boson.”

“The videos really give an accurate view of what it’s like being at CERN,” adds Sam Harper, also from the CMS experiment.

“Being in this long-term project helped me to step back and realise that things don’t change as much as we think, all while changing completely,” commented Zachary Marshall, from the ATLAS experiment, for whom the best part was “getting messages from friends and family who had seen the videos”.

For Liz, the main challenge was overcoming the lack of visual aspects of the physics itself and trying to balance the amount of information given to the audience: enough to arouse interest and give a sense of the work being done, but not so much that the science becomes overwhelming. The result is a series of short films that delve into the work done here at CERN with real-life characters that reflect on their own achievements with humour and humility. This series is sponsored by the Science and Technologies Facilities Council and the Irish Film Board.

So don’t miss out! The whole series is now available on this YouTube Intelligent Channel.