Where should we go for a technology-related field trip?
September 10, 2010 2:28 PM   Subscribe

Last year our small company went on a field trip to the CERN laboratory in Switzerland, where we were given a guided tour around the Large Hadron Collider and other interesting places. What should we do this year? Something technology-related, somewhere in Europe, preferably with hands-on activities, lectures, interesting people, etc.
posted by gentle to Science & Nature (6 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Given all the high tech concentrated in Garching, surely there must be something in that town worth seeing.

Does the HQ of the European Southern Observatory have a visitor center? Or do the Max Planck Institutes? (I honestly don't know; I'm just suggesting that it's something to look into.)
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 2:42 PM on September 10, 2010

Radio astronomy!!!

Does LOFAR have visiting opportunities? What about the 120m telescope in Effelsburg, Germany?
posted by chicago2penn at 3:03 PM on September 10, 2010

Best answer: The Bremen Drop Tower.
posted by Wet Spot at 3:12 PM on September 10, 2010

Best answer: Gran Sasso laboratory - in (or more accurately, under) the Appenine mountains, Italy.

They collaborate heavily with CERN, who are 700+km away (particles generated in one lab are detected in the other) so there's a clear link to last year's trip. It's in 3 cathedral-like caves hollowed out underneath one of Italy's highest mountains, which provides over a kilometer of rock sheilding the experiments from cosmic rays. This is science on a massive scale.

Lab page on wikipedia

Wikipedia's page on the mountains

Lab webpage on how to arrange a visit

And it's in Italy, in a beautiful place. Nearest city L'Aquila - I was at a conference there, and visited the Gran Sasso lab a few years' back as the conference excursion. Really interesting.
posted by handee at 1:28 AM on September 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Very interesting, handee. How much will one be able to see as a visitor? I see they have a "lab day" as well, but it looks like it's for kids.
posted by gentle at 10:52 AM on September 11, 2010

We saw all of the three big chambers (seriously massive) and a lot of connecting tunnels. I think our guide was a post-doc but I am not sure: we were a bunch of computer science academics asking questions so we were asking LOTS of questions but probably weren't testing the edges of their knowledge! I think the tour took just over 2hrs, I think we got a fairly standard gig. There were people there other than our guide who were happy to chip in and answer stuff. I thought it was one of the best conference excursions I've ever done.
posted by handee at 4:03 PM on September 11, 2010

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