Superposition: physicists and artists in conversation

Underground experiments

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Ever since I signed up for caving at Sheffield Uni during my PhD I have loved exploring underground - so I had great fun looking into possible underground locations for Lyndall's installation. The excitment of exploration, just like we flirted with at the Bargehouse, came right to the surface once again. We found so many exclusive, hidden spaces in London and we both wanted to explore them all - the same way Lyndall said she would love to explore the locations of all the experiments I had shown her. I explained how some were similar to underground experiments and why we go underground - to shield us from the showers of particles coming from cosmic rays all the time. Every second we have at least one heavy electron, called the muon, passing through us - more if we go up in a plane. To reduce all of these extra background particles we shield ourselves with 100's of metres of rock, so that we can be confident that the particles we see are not those from cosmic rays but instead the ones we want to see.

Ben

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The search for Atlantis

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Ben and I spent a few hours this afternoon looking for possible underground locations on the web, there are some amazing places out there – crypts, tunnels, dungeons, etc.. I’m keen for the venue to offer an unexpected or unusual journey, where the visitor feels they are embarking on an adventure. I keep thinking about Atlantis; what would greet you if you discovered a lost subterranean city? What would future explorers make of a particle detector, if it was unearthed thousands of years from now? Is my particle physics expedition meeting Indian Jones?   

Lyndall

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