applicationContext = Production

Open Day on June 24, 2017

We warmly invite all those curious about particle physics to visit us at our research institute on Saturday 24 June from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We will introduce you to our experiments: We will show you, for example, how a gamma radiation telescope works, explain why chilly temperatures are needed in the search for dark matter, and enable you to experience how scientists use the ATLAS detector in their work at CERN.
In addition, the topics will deal with very fundamental questions as well: Which elementary particles are known and why are physicists looking for new particles? What exactly is radioactivity, and where does it occur?

There will also be exciting talks on current research topics. For children, the program will include a painting competition. And under the motto “Build your own particle detector”, we will invite children (and adults as well, of course) to take part in a Lego competition. The best creations will receive a prize!

Entrance is free.


What is the universe made of, what is its structure? What role do elementary particles play? Why are scientists searching for new, exotic particles?

... and whatever else you wanted to know about particle physics: This is your first port of call with your questions — come and discuss them with us!

A new project started only recently at the Max Planck Institute for Physics — MADMAX. Everything here revolves around the axion. The elementary particle exists in theoretical models, but it has not yet been possible to detect it. Axions can help to eliminate a whole series of inconsistencies in particle physics. It is a possible candidate for dark matter, for example.

We explain the tricks scientists can use to expose axions — and exhibit the prototype for a new experiment in the axion laboratory.

Each experiment in particle physics is unique. Our mechanical engineering workshop shows how new experiments are planned, designed and finally manufactured and assembled.

What can you see here?

Technical design office

Telescopes must react to celestial events as fast as lightning. The 17-meter diameter MAGIC telescope needs only 30 seconds to align its mirror towards a new target — how does it do this?
How are high-sensitivity detectors for accelerator experiments designed? Example ATLAS muon chambers

Milling workshop / mechanical engineering workshop

Many components, from the bolt to the highly complex turned/milled part, must be fabricated individually. You can see a variety of machines in operation in our workshops, for example 3D printers, milling machines or water-jet machines.

Electronics technician for equipment and systems

In addition to information about the training and the workshop, there are computer games for children and young people of any age – three players can compete at any one time.

Industrial mechanic (precision engineering)

In addition to information about the training and the workshop, we show functioning (compressed air controlled) models which the apprentices have built.

  • Pneumatic control
  • Marble run
  • 3D printing with parts to take home
  • Table soccer
  • Presentation of the company/vocational school joint project: Device for centering bicycle rims

The neutrino is the Mona Lisa of the elementary particles – it is even more mysterious than the other members of the particle family. The neutrino could be its own antiparticle, for example. If this is the case, it could have played an important role in the disappearance of antimatter from the universe. And cause germanium to decay in a very special way. Germanium detectors are being used in the search for these extremely rare radioactive decays.

What can you see here?

  • Natural radioactivity is everywhere – there would be no life without it! We show how it can be measured and if you guess correctly, you can take away something delicious.
  • How do germanium detectors work? How can they be understood?
  • How are they used in the GERDA experiment?
  • What are the plans for the future?

Electronic components can be thought of as the brain of modern particle physics experiments. For particle collisions or light signals: Modern chip and semiconductor technologies facilitate precise measurements and data analyses without which no new knowledge would be possible.

What can you see here?

Electronics — laboratory
How can individual light particles be made visible in the MAGIC telescope?
ATLAS detector: How we can follow the track of muons
Silicon photomultiplier: The next generation of telescope cameras
From the training workshop: Model of the AWAKE accelerator and floating magic sphere (levitron)

Electronics — production
On show here are various machines used in modern electronics production: Find out how a laser cutting machine works – and how new circuit boards are fitted with electronic components in seconds.

Matter and antimatter were generated in equal amounts during the Big Bang, but in today’s universe we see mainly matter. Why is there this asymmetry between matter and antimatter? The Belle experiment investigated decays of matter and antimatter particles to find out why they behave differently. Belle II will improve these measurements further: With more data and new detectors.

What can you see here?

  • What is antimatter, how does the matter/antimatter asymmetry arise and how can it be measured?
  • Pixel detector: High-precision measurement of particle tracks
  • Track trigger: The triggering mechanism of the detector

After the discovery of the Higgs boson, more particles could maybe follow soon: At the LHC, protons are smashed into each other at almost the speed of light and incredibly high energies. The accurate data from ATLAS enable researchers to conduct high-precision measurements of the standard model using known particles, and to search for things unknown. To increase the chances of detecting new particles, the LHC is updated for further outstanding achievements. This applies to the ATLAS instrumentation as well – our scientists give you an insight into how detector technologies are being developed further and report on the results achieved.

What can you see here?

  • The instruments used to measure muons: Smaller, faster and much more precise than before
  • New types of silicon pixel sensors to measure electrically charged particles
  • ATLAS control room: How scientists work at CERN
  • Precision measurements for the mass of the top quark

Scientists have long known that the universe must contain a form of matter which cannot be seen. It attracts mass, just as normal, visible matter does. This is how dark matter keeps galaxies together – and determines how they are spread out in the universe. CRESST is one of several experiments searching for the as yet unknown particles of dark matter –and it requires very low temperatures.

What can you see here?

  • The CRESST cryogenic temperature laboratory: How can low temperatures close to absolute zero (-273 degrees Celsius) be achieved?
  • In the CRESST tent: Which methods does the experiment use to detect dark matter?
  • Also: Entertaining experiments with nitrogen and balloons!

Telescopes are the most important “visual aids” for studying the universe. Scientists use them to investigate various wavelengths of light, for example visible light, infrared or radio waves. The MAGIC and CTA telescopes focus their sights on the most energetic radiation: Gamma radiation. It tells us what happens near black holes and when stars explode, and allows us to have a look into the distant past of our 13-billion-year-old universe.

What can you see here?

  • Mirror experiments at the experimental set-up
  • In the MAGIC and CTA tent: Live link to La Palma – scientists demonstrate the MAGIC telescope on the highest mountain on the Canary Island
  • Camera technologies which can detect and evaluate gamma radiation

Lego competition “Build your own particle detector!“ Prizes will be awarded to the three best models. The winners will be announced on: 30 June 2017.

Painting competition: Neutrinos, Quarks & Co. - what resides in the particle zoo?
The competition will be held at set times. We will begin by introducing the most important residents of the particle zoo.

The prize for the best drawing will be awarded immediately afterwards. All the artistic works will be entered into the final round and the three best artistic works overall will win a prize. The drawing which wins first prize will also be the design for our 2017 Christmas card! The winners will be announced on: 30 June 2017.  

Competition times (you can come and paint just for fun at any time):

10:00-11:00, prizes will be presented at 11:15
12:00-13:00, prizes will be presented at 13:15
14:00-15:00, prizes will be presented at 15:15

Talks (in German)

10:00 - 10:30 Neutrinos - rätselhafte Bausteine des Universums (Tobias Stirner)
10:30 - 11:00 Wie schwer ist ein Neutrino? Messungen mit der genauesten Waage der Welt (Tim Brunst)
11:00 - 11:30 Licht ins Dunkel: Die Jagd nach Dunkler Materie mit dem ATLAS-Experiment (Philipp Gadow)
11:30 - 12:00 100 Jahre Forschung am Max-Planck-Institut für Physik (Stefan Stonjek)
12:00 - 12:30 Was kommt nach dem LHC? Ideen für das nächste große Beschleuniger-Experiment (Frank Simon)
13:00 - 13:30 Mikrowellen aus dem Nichts - die Suche nach Axionen als Dunkler Materie (Stefan Knirck)
13:30 - 14:00 Belle II: Der verschwundenen Antimaterie auf der Spur (Fernando Abudinén)
14:30 - 15:00 100 Jahre Forschung am Max-Planck-Institut für Physik (Stefan Stonjek)
15:00 - 14:30 Neutrinos - rätselhafte Bausteine des Universums (Tobias Stirner)
15:30 - 16:00 Wie schwer ist ein Neutrino? Messungen mit der genauesten Waage der Welt (Tim Brunst)
16:00 - 16:30 Licht ins Dunkel: Die Jagd nach Dunkler Materie mit dem ATLAS Experiment (Philipp Gadow)