The Large Hadron Collider is “big” science and the success of the LHC programme is of vital importance for science, and not just particle physics. In the media, the LHC has had an incredible amount of positive coverage. Now, people are talking about science in a way that they haven’t done for years, and when scientists have something important to say, people are listening. Our goal is that the number of people involved in science outreach, as well as their knowledge of how to effectively communicate, will be greatly increased, leading to a better public understanding of our science in the coming years.
Our Outreach Activities Plan is based on three strands:
1. Training in communication skills
Our ESR will be highly motivated, however, in order to communicate their excitement, their enthusiasm needs to be channeled. We will therefore provide training in three stages. Each of the participants will provide a short local training course in communications and outreach. Our partner CERN will provide one-day course on how to communicate the science of the LHC. ESR seconded to CERN will be able to act as guides to visitors to CERN. Our private sector partner Brook Lapping/Newton TV will provide a bespoke media training course (mainly aimed at producing films about our science. We will also provide training in writing for non-specialist audiences, with the aim of producing articles for local newspapers.
2. Direct contact with the general public
We will organise a widely publicised keynote public lecture in the early evening at each of the annual HiggsTools meetings, given by one of the world-leading researchers in our field. Just before/after the talk, we will invite the audience to a poster session where the young researchers will display posters describing their research to a non-specialist audience. Many of the participants are already involved in the pan-European “Hands on Particle Physics International Masterclasses for High School Students” [http://www.physicsmasterclasses.org/]. We aim to roll this activity out across the Network enabling the Young Researchers to communicate with 17-18 year old school pupils, either through giving talks at the Open Day, or via hands-on demonstrations.
3. Indirect contact with the general public
We are particularly interested to extend our excitement beyond the towns and places we will physically visit in the next few years, and we believe we can have a listing impact via electronic media. We will capitalise on the intense public interest in the experiments at CERN by producing a educational and outreach web portal on the HiggsTools website which will be maintained by the Young Researchers and regularly updated with news from CERN. We will help the ESR to produce a blog about their experiences, both scientific and culturally. It is a particular strength of HiggsTools that our partner Brook Lapping/Newton TV is experienced in the communication of science to the wider public, and school children in particular. Guided by our colleagues at Brook Lapping/Newton TV the ESR’s will make two short films about “Exploring the High Energy Frontier”. The films will be promoted and distributed by Newton TV, which via its partners, the Open University, the Science Museum and the Guardian, has a potential science audience of over 30 million viewers. The films will also be available on the HiggsTools web site and Youtube.