U.S. artist unveils mural to "cathedral of science"

Thu Oct 7, 2010 4:45am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Robert Evans

GENEVA (Reuters Life!) - A U.S. artist has unveiled a vast mural to what he called "a cathedral of science" -- the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) probing the origins of the universe at the CERN particle physics center near Geneva.

The brightly colored mural, three stories high and twice as wide, by 29-year-old Josef Kristofoletti, is on the main and side wall of a building on the sprawling CERN site, which straddles the Franco-Swiss border above and below ground.

Kristofoletti's work portrays the Atlas, one of the four massive particle detectors located underground along the 27-km (17 mile), oval-shaped LHC where what has been dubbed the "Big Bang" programme is under way.

"It is like a public face for the whole project in popular art," said CERN physicist Michael Barnett.

The artist, who has already painted a similar but smaller mural at an arts center in South Carolina devoted to the elusive Higgs Boson particle that CERN is aiming to find, said it was the extent of the LHC installation that had inspired him.

After seeing Italian Renaissance frescoes depicting religious mythology, he said, he had come to regard the project -- which started up on March 30 -- as "an unprecedented cathedral of science."

Despite its size, the mural -- easily visible from the main public road that runs through the CERN site across the border -- is only one third the size of the actual Alice detector in a huge cavern 100 meters (300 feet) below.

CERN said Kristofoletti's work, which took over a year to complete, "is the next best thing to seeing the detector." The artist said he was inspired "by the human creativity that goes into research at the frontiers of knowledge."   Continued...