by Panos Charitos. Published: 14 August 2014

Last month, Alfredo Harp Helu with his wife Maria Isabel Granien Porrua and their three children visited CERN and the ALICE cavern at P2. Harp Helu, businessman and philanthropist, funds every year a number of actions in education, health and culture through the Alfredo Harp Helu foundation. According to him, actions for the benefit of people are "seeds" that sprout now and that will start growing for the well-being of future generations.

The tour started with a short introduction to CERN’s mission by Jose Salicio Diez, CERN’s advisor for relations with Latin America, and continued with a visit to the Microcosm. Dominique Bertola presented “Drole de Physique”, a collection of hands-on activities that were primarily designed for young audiences. Next in the programme, Matteo Castoldi presented CERN’s activities on medical physics and applications as well as the various educational activities of the organization, including the summer students and teachers programmes.

Following their half-day induction to CERN, Alfredo Harp Helu and Maria Isabel Granien Porrua were guided to the ALICE experiment by ALICE’s Spokesperson Paolo Giubellino, outreach coordinator Despina Hatzifotiadou and Gerardo Herrera Coral who had organized this visit. They were introduced to the physics carried out by ALICE as well as to the history of the experiment and the challenge of building a collaboration among groups and research institutes around the world.

Afredo Harp Helu and Maria Isabel Granien Porrua were intrigued by the wealth of activities that take place at CERN, ranging from fundamental research to the development of novel applications that have an impact in our daily lives.

After all they both work on initiatives that can make a difference to people’s daily lives and as Alfredo says: “I am always engaging in each project and work daily to serve the society. It is amazing to see how this effort is multiplied thanks to the work of others motivated by the same objective, and how working as a team we create synergies that are imprinted in the memory and the daily life of our community”.

The Harp Helu Foundation organizes a series of science talks for the general public in Oaxaca, Mexico. Gerardo Herrera Corral has been invited to deliver a talk about ALICE and discuss further possibilities for collaboration on outreach and educational activities.