CERN — the European Organization for Nuclear Research

Colliding Particles - Episode 2: Big Bang Day





Mike Paterson



To illustrate to students ages 15+ how science develops through discussion, collaboration and completion of works, and to illustrate the relationship between experiment and theory in science.


"Big Bang Day" is the second film of the series ‘Colliding Particles." At 10.28am on 10 September 2008 the first beam of protons was successfully steered around the full 27 kilometres of the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. Adam introduces us to life at CERN and the excitement surrounding 'Big Bang Day'. Film Duration: 8min 37 sec.
Film duration:  8min 37 sec.
See film here:
Topics Covered in this Film:

  • Media morning - International TV crews set the scene for the opening of the LHC.
  • Arriving at CERN - Adam describes the contrast between how he imagined CERN and his impressions when he first arrived there.
  • Media Mayhem - More media action – and confusion.
  • (The LHC) - An explanation of the purpose of the LHC.
  • CERN Staff - Adam describes the different roles of the people who work at CERN.
  • The Big Day - Adam describes the excitement of being at CERN on the day of the LHC start-up.
  • The size of the LHC) - A description of the scale and cost of the LHC.
  • Adam's Role - Adam describes his role at CERN and in the LHC project.
  • (Under control) - Inside the LHC control rooms at CERN.
  • On the Day - Adam describes his role on the day of the LHC start-up.
  • How I got Here - Adam describes how he found his science education.
  • Becoming an Expert - Adam describes the satisfaction which comes from the change from being taught to being the expert.
  • Success - Back in the control room, the beam tests have been successful.

(See teacher's guide for this episode for exact timings of these topics within the video:
About the series:
The full series follows just one of the teams of physicists involved in the research at the LHC.
The project documents their work at the frontiers of particle physics, exploring the human stories behind the research and investigating the workings of the scientific process itself. It is designed to support the ‘How Science Works’ element of key stage 4 of the English national curriculum. The films have been made to illustrate aspects of the way in which science develops. They show scientists discussing their work, how they collaborate and compete, and the relationship between experiment and theory in science.
Although the idea of the Standard Model of particle physics and the existence of the Higgs particle are unlikely to be part of the formal curriculum for most students, these films can still be used when you wish to discuss aspects of HSW and to stimulate interest in the process of scientific discovery. Because the scientists are describing an on-going process of discovery, the films have a natural ‘story’ thread running through them.

Post date: Mon, Feb 07, 2011 — 12:04
Updated date: Tue, Nov 20, 2012 — 04:27

Learning Topics

(Maps) Who does What?
Process of Discovery