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The CERN Large Hadron Collider has been created to understand how matter initially agglomerated, in order to learn more about the origin of life. Common discourse on the Hadron Collider draws a straight line between the very small (the particles) and the very big (the macrocosms), pretending that the passage from the infra/invisible to the macrocosm is very easily crossed. What can be seen on a daily basis at CERN is however completely absent from the general discourse. Sophie Houdart, in her anthropological research, tries to understand the CERN collider as a whole, in order to find things that are necessary but obfuscated in the chain from the very small to the very big. What are the technical skills of the technical workers who know the machine? To operate the machine correctly, the terrain must be taken into account. Both wild boars and people above ground have an impact on the workings of the machine. The collider is so big, that its very size influences the measurements. It being the most monitored terrain in Europe, the CERN has detected impacts from the Fukushima disaster. The place becomes a sentinel for effects of human activity outside the centre.

expert

  • Sophie Houdart

date

21/11/2015

location

Musée de l’Homme, Paris

is an anthropologist. She works at the CNRS and is a member of the laboratory of ethnology and comparative sociology (LESC). In 2011, in the course of a collective project on the change of scales in knowledge practices, she led an investigation on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the CERN.

— INQUIRY: On becoming earthlings
) — PRODUCTION: Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge No. 18
— EVENT: On becoming earthlings: dialogues and exercises in shrinking and expanding the human

is an anthropologist. She works at the CNRS and is a member of the laboratory of ethnology and comparative sociology (LESC). In 2011, in the course of a collective project on the change of scales in knowledge practices, she led an investigation on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the CERN.

— INQUIRY: On becoming earthlings
) — PRODUCTION: Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge No. 18
— EVENT: On becoming earthlings: dialogues and exercises in shrinking and expanding the human

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