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CERN Lays First Stone of Science Gateway

  • CERN today held a first stone ceremony as the next step in the creation of the Science Gateway, which was first unveiled in 2019 in Geneva
  • The ambitious and innovative Science Gateway project is expected to raise awareness, curiosity and love for science in every dimension in the greatest number of people possible
  • The project will be funded through external donations, with the leading contribution coming from the FCA Foundation, now cooperating with Stellantis
  • Scheduled to open in 2023, the Science Gateway will be hosted in a new, iconic and carbon-neutral building, designed by world-renowned architects Renzo Piano Building Workshop
June 21, 2021,  Amsterdam - CERN today held a first stone ceremony as the next step in the creation of the Science Gateway, a new hub for scientific education and culture, which was first unveiled in 2019 in Geneva with the support of the FCA Foundation (the charitable arm of Stellantis).

Fabiola Gianotti, CERN’s director-general; John Elkann, chairman of Stellantis and the FCA Foundation, the main donor; Renzo Piano, architect and founder of Renzo Piano Building Workshop; and Antonio Hodgers, representing the Geneva Canton, were present to mark the successful start of its construction. Ursula Bassler, president of the CERN Council, contributed to the ceremony remotely. Representatives from CERN Member and Associate Member States, Host States and many other partners were also in attendance at the ceremony.

“I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the many partners in our Member and Associate Member States and beyond who are making the CERN Science Gateway possible, in particular to our generous donors. The challenging times we’ve been through over the past 18 months have demonstrated the enduring value and the necessity of science and the need for cooperation across borders. Science brings people together and shows what humanity can achieve when we put our differences aside and focus on the common good. Science gives hope and trust in a better future. We want the CERN Science Gateway to inspire all those who come to visit with the beauty and the values of science,” said CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti during her opening speech.

With a footprint of 7,000 square meters, the iconic Science Gateway building will offer a variety of spaces and activities, from exhibitions explaining the secrets of nature, to the very small (elementary particles), as well as to the very large (the structure and evolution of the universe). The exhibitions will also feature CERN's accelerators, experiments and computing, how scientists use them in their exploration and how CERN technologies benefit society. Hands-on experimentation will be a key ingredient in the Science Gateway's educational program, allowing visitors to experience first hand what it is like to be a scientist. The immersive activities available in the Science Gateway will foster critical thinking, evidence-based assessment and use of the scientific method, important tools in all walks of life.

The project will be funded through external donations, with the leading contribution coming from Stellantis through its FCA Foundation.

“At Stellantis, we strongly believe in the importance of education, with an emphasis in the fields of science and technology,” said John Elkann, chairman of Stellantis and the FCA Foundation. “Supporting STEM education has proven to be the most effective way to keep our societies open and safe, as we have learned this last year by overcoming the COVID-19 crisis.

“Among the many education initiatives we are promoting in our communities, we’re honored to be supporting the ambitious and innovative Science Gateway project that is expected to raise awareness, curiosity and love for science in every dimension in the greatest number of people possible, from our children to our elderly. We are very proud of our association with CERN with whom we share similar values and optimism about the future,” Elkann added. “This commitment in such a stimulating setting is also a way for us to honor the memory of Sergio Marchionne, with his multifaceted intellectual curiosity and his passion for physics, with its rigorous and evidence-based methods and yet always open and creative.”

As part of the educational portfolio of the Science Gateway, CERN and Stellantis through the FCA Foundation will develop, with the advice of the Fondazione Agnelli, an education project in inquiry-based physics dedicated to Italian middle schools.

Scheduled to open in 2023, the Science Gateway will be hosted in a new, iconic and carbon neutral building, designed by world-renowned architects Renzo Piano Building Workshop, on CERN's Meyrin site adjacent to other iconic buildings, the Globe of Science and Innovation.

“It is with joy and pride that we are launching today this ambitious project where, thanks to the collaboration of different skills, nationalities and languages, we will build a place of exchange and knowledge. A bridge, forever bridges! A glass bridge, which links the different themes and parts of Science Gateway while also allowing a physical encounter between researchers and children, visitors and physicists, tourists and scientists, all driven by curiosity and the thirst for knowledge,” said Renzo Piano, the internationally renowned architect, whose notable buildings include the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern, the Pompidou Centre in Paris, and the Shard in London.

An exhibition on the Esplanade des Particules details the project and its connection to CERN.

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world's leading laboratories for particle physics. The Organization is located on the French-Swiss border, with its headquarters in Geneva. Its Member States are: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Cyprus, Estonia and Slovenia are Associate Member States in the pre-stage to Membership. Croatia, India, Lithuania, Pakistan, Turkey and Ukraine are Associate Member States. The European Union, Japan, JINR, the Russian Federation, UNESCO and the United States of America currently have Observer status.

FCA Foundation
The FCA Foundation, the charitable arm of Stellantis, supports charitable organizations and initiatives that help empower people, build strong, resilient communities and generate meaningful and measurable societal impacts particularly in the field of education.

Stellantis is one of the world’s leading automakers and a mobility provider, guided by a clear vision: to offer freedom of movement with distinctive, affordable and reliable mobility solutions. In addition to the Group’s rich heritage and broad geographic presence, its greatest strengths lie in its sustainable performance, depth of experience and the wide-ranging talents of employees working around the globe. Stellantis will leverage its broad and iconic brand portfolio, which was founded by visionaries who infused the marques with passion and a competitive spirit that speaks to employees and customers alike. Stellantis aspires to become the greatest, not the biggest while creating added value for all stakeholders as well as the communities in which it operates.

The Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) was established in 1981 by Renzo Piano with offices in Genoa, Italy and in Paris, France. RPBW is led by eight partners, including founder and Pritzker Prize laureate, architect Renzo Piano. The practice permanently employs about 110 architects together with an additional 30 support staff, including 3D visualization artists, model makers, archivers, administrative and secretarial staff. Our staff has a wide experience of working in multi-disciplinary teams on building projects in France, Italy and abroad.

As architects, we are involved in the projects from start to finish. We usually provide full architectural design services and consultancy services during the construction phase. Our design skills extend beyond mere architectural services. Our work also includes interior design services, town planning and urban design services, landscape design services and exhibition design services. RPBW has successfully undertaken and completed over 140 projects around the world. Currently, among the main projects in progress are the Paddington Square in London; GES-2 arts centre in Moscow; the CERN Science Gateway Building in Geneva and the Toronto Courthouse.

Fondazione Agnelli
The Fondazione Agnelli is an independent, non-profit research organization in the fields of human and social sciences, established in 1966 and named after founder of Fiat, the Senator Giovanni Agnelli. Its mission is "to further understanding of change in contemporary society in Italy and in Europe." Since 2008 the Fondazione's focus is on education, as a powerful lever for an individual's fulfilment, an important channel of social mobility, and a key factor for a country's economic growth and social cohesiveness. It runs wide-ranging studies to improve the Italian education system, works with schools to renew the teaching methodologies, and helps families in the school choice.


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