ILC NewsLine
LHC and ILC communications

There it is: the LHC will start up in four weeks! We know the date of this special day when the protons will be injected into the tunnel: 10 September 2008. All eyes are on the LHC… but not exclusively. The start-up event as well as many other events which will follow are unique opportunities to promote our field, particle physics and science in general.

In April 2008, 76 000 visitors came to see CERN and the LHC underground installations during the CERN Open Day. Photo: CERN.

The CERN Control Centre will be the centre place for LHC start-up. Photo: CERN

In Berlin, a city train was transformed into the "LHC Express", circling around Berlin for one night on 14 June to promote CERN, the LHC and the future exhibition in the "Bundestag" subway station. Photo: DESY

With the LHC start-up, public and media interest in particle physics is at an unprecedentedly high level. In order to work efficiently, our community needs to harmonise communication messages. Following the July 2006 CERN Council meeting in Lisbon where the European Strategy for Particle Physics was approved, a new communication group, the European Particle Physics Communication Network EPPCN, was born to strengthen the communication of particle physics in the Member States of CERN. This means that through the EPPCN network and the InterAction collaboration, particle physics communications is now coordinated globally.

With 10 000 people working on the LHC around the world, coordination might sound tricky to achieve. However, coordination had to start in the individual countries, which sometimes turned out to be even more of a challenge! In many countries, communication needed to be harmonised between different agencies, universities and national labs. Evidence of this success is the recent release of national websites to explain LHC science and technology and also to promote each country's contribution to the project such as in the US, in the UK, in Germany and in France.

A great number of events is being planned all over the world to celebrate the LHC. All of them are being coordinated with CERN around two major dates: the machine start-up in Summer 2008 and the official inauguration, on 21 October 2008. Just to name a few, in Germany the highlight will be a LHC exhibition in the "Bundestag" subway station close to the German Parliament building in Berlin, with festive events on 14 and 28 October. In France, the major museum of science "La Cité des sciences et de l'industrie" will dedicate a full day to LHC during its own open day. Milan, Italy, will be the place of a special "Accelerator day". For the start-up day on 10 September CERN and the Member States will invite the media to witness the LHC start-up and to conduct interviews with LHC scientists.

The role of all these networks is to ensure that positive and coherent messages are communicated on LHC. But more importantly, they help to convert the current interest of the public into sustained interest and support for science in general and particle physics in particular. What does that mean for the ILC? I believe 2008 will not only be the year of the LHC but also the year of particle physics. We know that the general public is fascinated by the scientific challenges of the machine and that they already want to know more about the future of our research field. That is the reason why it is a good time to communicate the ILC project. We wish CERN and all LHC collaborators that this start-up will be a success and will be followed by deep scientific discoveries. The LHC communication network, driven as an international endeavour, should be a model for the ILC community. We shouldn't be shy but should instead take this opportunity to talk about the next project: the ILC. Within a few months, many more versions of The International Linear Collider - Gateway to the Quantum Universe will be available for wide distribution (German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Korean and French) in addition to the already existing English, Japanese and Chinese versions. They will help us to widely inform our audience about the challenging ILC project. Let us imagine that within a few years, a media-day around the ILC start-up is coming up...

-- Perrine Royole-Degieux, ILC and LHC communicator

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