by Kenneth Read. Published: 19 November 2012

CERN understands the great importance of science outreach. It’s part of CERN’s mission. Science organizations around the world and most scientists know that communicating science to the public increases public support of science, reduces potential misunderstanding, improves recruitment, and can even clarify in our own minds what the “big picture” really is about our science.

On the other hand, use of social media for significant science outreach is still in its very early days. CERN has been a leader in science outreach for years and is now launching a new program on social media called Hangout with CERN. “Teleconference” is probably too old-fashioned a term for this new type of n-way interactive, audiovisual public chat. It’s a “Hangout.” It’s a hangout with real people, not actors, not spokespeople, people who make mistakes … but love science and have lot to say about CERN, its experiments, and even the cafeteria. Starting November 1 at 17:00 CET on Thursdays, a new weekly public “Hangout with CERN” will be broadcast live on Google+ and YouTube.

A promotional, rehearsal Hangout is available here (click on Hangout rectangle)
and here.

Although, upcoming reminders and instructions for upcoming Hangouts will be widely announced on social media and elsewhere, the best place to find the live weekly Hangout is here:
google.com/+CERN and the archived previous Hangouts here:
http://www.youtube.com/user/CERNTV



Steven Goldfarb and Mick Storr during CERN first public hangout


Please, don’t think of this as some remote CERN activity proceeding in isolation. We need and want Collaboration physicists in the audience … and on camera. LHC Experiment-specific Hangouts are coming over the next weeks. The best way to get on-board is to follow CERN and the LHC Experiments on Google+ by clicking Join/Sign-in/Follow here:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/108654553523292152903/posts (ALICE Experiment)
google.com/+ATLASExperiment (ATLAS Experiment)
google.com/+CERN (CERN)
google.com/+CMSExperiment (CMS Experiment)
https://plus.google.com/u/0/107821740458875503937/posts (LHCb Experiment)




Despina Hatzifotiadou from the ALICE control room and Kenneth Read from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory joined the first CERN hangout

Some may think of social media as solely a vehicle for dating, not-safe-for-work jokes, pictures of ever-increasingly adorable cats, and animated gifs of elephants on trampolines. But, there is a lot for technologically-minded people to love about these Hangouts besides the fun science content. Think again about the enormous number of optimized Google servers behind the scenes providing the bandwidth for tens of thousands of simultaneous viewers, distributing the live and archived Hangouts via YouTube to even more around the globe, the improved Google search relevance/priority for verified Google+ pages, advanced “rel=publisher” “SEO” marketing techniques (see Wikipedia for explanation) that can correlate web traffic to LHC experiment website pages with their corresponding Google+ pages, and so much more. Yes, there is very cool computer science and technology, major support from Google, and even aspects of professional online marketing behind the scenes, dynamic n-way science discussion on the screen, and perhaps one of the most creative new tools for interactive, global public science outreach, yet. As they say on Google+, +1 for science outreach! See you next week for a Hangout with CERN.