Super K Sonic Booum Gold- Dec 2010


The Most Unforgettable Way To Learn About Neutrino Physics

It looks like a scene from some sci-fi epic. But for a week in October, anyone visiting the Manchester Science Festival was able to don a white tyvek suit and paddle through this wormhole of spectacular golden balloons. For science!

It was part of a celebrated installation called Super K Sonic BOOOOum by Nelly Ben Hayoun, a recent graduate from the Royal College of Art in London. And if you think it looks cool, wait until you hear what a visit actually involves:

This large installation consists of a 22 meter long ‘river' of water running through a tunnel lined with thousands of silver balloons (photomultiplier tubes). Members of the public embark on a boat, pulled through the tunnel on a submerged track using a pulley system, with sound and lighting effects, and with an expert particle physicist navigator as a guide. On the journey they learn of neutrinos, their role in the Universe and how scientists detect them. All crew members must first don white Tyvek suits, wellies and hard hats or else face the wrath of Nelly the security chief, at the entrance of the tunnel.