Published: 11 July 2014

ESOF is an iniatitive of Euroscience that was launched in Stockholm in 2004 and has grown up to one of the largest multidisciplinary public facing science conferences. It takes place every two years, and has so far been in Stockholm, Munich, Barcelona, Turin, Dublin and Copenhagen.

This year's theme – Science Building Bridges – aimed to raise the public awareness of science and to strengthen the links between science and society. CERN had a substantial presence as recent LHC runs and future runs were discussed along with the applications coming out from fundamental research, particularly in the field of life sciences.

 

Participants at the conference ranged from scientists and researchers, journalists and science communicators to representatives of industry and policy makers. Gianotti and CERN Director-General Rolf Heuer spoke of the importance of fundamental research in a lively discussion about CERN and the world of particle physics.

 

Heuer told the conference delegates that of more than 30,000 particle accelerators in the world, about 15,000 are used in hospitals, a similar number are used in industry, while the remaining are used for scientific research. He also addressed his global vision for membership of CERN, saying, “Diversity is an opportunity. We have redefined the E in CERN from ‘Europe’ to ‘everywhere’.” Gianotti agreed: “Science doesn’t see borders. It is a huge unifying force. Our work is not just a scientific adventure; it is also a human adventure with very good life lessons.”

Four other sessions during the conference involved CERN scientists or those working on the LHC. The audience at “Detectives of the microcosm” were taken on a whirlwind journey covering over five decades of particle physics, as Tiziano Camporesi of CMS, Stephanie Hansmann-Menzemer of LHCb, Samira Hassani of ATLAS and André Mischke of ALICE presented physics at the LHC in a session moderated by CERN’s Head of Communication, James Gillies.

CERN’s Life Sciences Advisor Manjit Dosanjh moderated a session on cancer detection and treatment, and, along with CERN's Director for Research and Scientific Computing, Sergio Bertolucci and former CERN Director-General Chris Llewellyn Smith, also participated in an EIROforum-organized session called “Decoding the origin, fabric, and fate of life and the Universe”. Finally, former LHCb Spokesperson, Tatsuya Nakada, spoke at the session “What the Higgs do we do now?External Links icon” on the global perspectives for the future of particle physics.

CERN also formally announced the restart schedule for the LHC, at a media briefing session at ESOF on 23 June.

The next ESOF conference will be in 2016 in Manchester.