Professor Art, Conceptual
Information Arts Program, SFSU
CERN, the European Physics Research Center, has initiated the Atlas project. This project has
built the world's most power particle accerlerator to study subatomic
physics. It is 10 times more powerful than other accelerators.
For example, the particle beams will be spun around a 27km tunnel of
electronics to be juiced up near the speed of light. Researchers
hope it will help to resolve many riddles in subatomic research and
generate new questions. The collider was scheduled to be started
up in Nov 09.
The outreach department of the project ran a competition for multimedia
artists to create a short digital video related to the
project. One artist would be selected to be in residence
during the startup. I created a video called Why Atlas?
Most of the promotional materials for Atlas concentrate on how big and
how powerful the collider is and the details of how the various
components will work, and how wonderful it all is. I felt
important elements were missing in these presentations. Why Atlas
tries to add address these elements:
Why Atlas was not selected.
- linking advanced physics to the basic human desire to understand
- giving an overview of the scientific history that led to Atlas
- explaining why such a big, complicated project is necessary
- acknowledging questions about the project such as
- reservations about its science and engineering
- debates about how wise it is to devote such enormous resources
- potential dangers
- its diversion of funding from other worthwhile science
- the cultural accomplishment of the international community being
willing to take the risks of such a project
Link to the video Why Atlas? (quicktime h264 format, 2:39)