This is a proposal for a project to engage staff at CERN with Big History. It is a revision of an earlier proposal to also engage UN staff, which seemed to be too ambitious.
Please make any comments you may have either in the comments box below.
History of this Proposal
21-7-16 Original proposal (which included engaging students to deliver a presentation to UN staff) sent for comments to members of IBHA Board
22-7-16 Proposal updated following feedback. Investigation begun on MOOC Big History Connecting Knowledge (see below)
14-9-16 Revised proposal removing UN from the proposal, as this seemed too ambitious and too prescriptive. Now it explores how to engage CERN with Big History and to let the project grow organically.
This is a proposal to explore how to engage staff in CERN with Big History. Philip Brown is offering to provide starter finance for this project.
At the IBHA Conference 2016, a Big History European Network was formed and a website created at BigHistory.eu
This opens the possibility of exploring resources situated in Europe which offers methods for widening knowledge of and participation in Big History to a significant international audience. The most obvious target is CERN, the world’s leading nuclear research centre which already has an extensive outreach programme to engage young people with science and with research into with the origin of the universe.
It is difficult to cost this project, but a ballpark figure of $10k might be somewhere around the mark. Philip Brown is prepared to invest $5k if IBHA (or others) can raise match funding.
CERN has huge capacity for driving people’s interest in science and is already very active in the field of advanced training and education. Reaching the younger generation in particular is vitally important. Therefore, CERN seeks to inspire tomorrow’s science and engineering graduates, who will contribute to scientific progress and the world economy. Every year, tens of thousands of visitors come to CERN to learn about its research programmes. They leave feeling inspired, well-informed and prepared to act as ambassadors for CERN, particle physics and science.
CERN also hosts thousands of people every year who contribute directly to basic research as technical students, fellows, PhD and postdoctoral researchers and associates. While contributing to the experiments they join, these people also receive training and experience that can be found nowhere else, and CERN remains a defining part of their careers.
However CERN is focussed on particle physics research and does not seem to connect their work with the Big History story. This is the domain which this project aims to explore.
CERN & Society Programme
CERN & Society is the programme of projects in the areas of education and outreach, innovation and knowledge exchange, and culture and creativity that spread the CERN spirit of scientific curiosity for the inspiration and benefit of society.
The programme is funded primarily by the CERN & Society Foundation, a charitable foundation established by CERN and supported by individuals, trusts, organisations and commercial companies. The projects are inspired or enabled by CERN, but lie outside of the specific research mandate. We especially want to help young talent from around the world to flourish in the future.
CERN & Society projects aim to:
- Promote public understanding of science and the various ways it affects our daily life
- Encourage and support young people’s interest in the STEM subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics with an emphasis on physics and engineering
- Improve people’s lives by means of innovative technologies
- Build capacity in developing countries by providing people with scientific knowledge and tools
- Foster creative synergies between science and culture, stimulating inspiration and enriching the cultural landscape.
CERN is striving to have an unprecedented impact for the benefit of society at large with a variety of projects. Current priorities are education at CERN and education in developing countries.
The key question is whether CERN would accept that Big History fits within their sphere of interest.
Their current projects (listed here) are:
Education & Outreach
Beamline for Schools Competition
Engaging high school students in real experimental particle physics research at CERN.
Non Member State Summer Student Programme
The next generation of scientists and engineers around the globe deserves the skills to contribute to the development of their nations.
CERN-UNESCO Schools for Digital Libraries
Enabling African researchers to join the global network of digital libraries and build capacity in their own countries.
ATLAS PhD Grant Scheme
Unique education for underprivileged outstanding PhD students in particle physics research.
National Teacher Programmes
Lifting teachers up to empower scientific education.
Innovation & Knowledge Exchange
Creating a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) suite for electronic hardware design.
A free on-line data repository to safely store and share research findings.
Culture & Creativity
Artists residency programme making creative collisions between culture and science.
CERN & Society Foundation
This is an independent non-profit organisation under Swiss private law, pursuing public benefit. The purpose of the Foundation is to support and promote the dissemination, to the widest possible public, of the benefits of the mission of CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, through education and outreach, innovation and knowledge exchange, and culture and arts; and to support and promote any related activities. Within this scope, the Foundation operates nationally and internationally.
CERN Outreach: https://giving.web.cern.ch/content/education-and-outreach
CERN & Society Foundation: https://giving.web.cern.ch/content/cern-society-foundation
CERN & Society Programme: https://giving.web.cern.ch/content/vision
Current CERN Outreach Projects: http://giving.web.cern.ch/content/projects
Other possible Resources
University of Geneva: http://www.unige.ch/international/en/
Museum of Natural History in Geneva: https://www.ville-ge.ch/mhng/
College du Leman: http://www.nordangliaeducation.com/en/our-schools/switzerland/cdl
Past Global Changes, Bern: http://www.futureearth.org/projects/pages-past-global-changes
Big History Connecting Knowledge MOOC: https://www.coursera.org/learn/big-history