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29 October 2014
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Radio 4 has exclusive access to CERN'S Big Bang experiment

BBC Radio 4 will have exclusive access to one of the most exciting scientific experiments ever attempted when physicists try to recreate the aftermath of the Big Bang.


This extraordinary event takes place at CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) in Geneva on Wednesday 10 September 2008.


Scientists hope that recreating the moment a fraction of a second after the Big Bang will enable them to shed light on some of the greatest unanswered scientific questions about the origins of the universe and its composition.


Radio 4 has been granted exclusive access to the CERN control room from where presenter Andrew Marr will report on the experiment throughout the day.


The network will devote the day to related programming to coincide with the switch-on of the fastest atom-smasher in the world – the Large Hadron Collider.


Andrew Marr says: "This will be one of the greatest scientific experiments, as well as the most expensive, ever conducted on Earth, which – fingers crossed – will reveal truths about existence guessed at but never demonstrated.


"The eyes of the thinking world will be watching CERN, which is why it will be such a privilege to report there for Radio 4's special day, live and with unique access."


The CERN Council has agreed to launch the experiment at 8.30am, live on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.


Other highlights of the day include a special one-off radio version of Torchwood, set at CERN and starring John Barrowman.


CERN physicist and former member of chart-topping band D:Ream Brian Cox talks to some of the celebrity enthusiasts of particle physics including Alan Alda, Eddie Izzard, Dara O'Briain, Ben Miller and John Barrowman.


Adam Hart-Davis looks at the engineering feats that have gone into creating this complex and sophisticated machine; comedian and former quantum physicist Ben Miller presents a three-part landmark series on our quest to unravel the atom; and comedian Steve Punt's new satire on time travel takes place at CERN.


Details can be found online at


Notes to Editors


The Large Hadron Collider, the fastest particle accelerator ever created, will speed minuscule subatomic particles around a 27km circular tunnel that runs deep beneath the Swiss/French countryside. Travelling at almost the speed of light, the particles will be smashed together to recreate the moment just a billionth of a second after the Big Bang.


The website will launch in advance of Big Bang Day with content that captures the dramatic significance of the experiment, including:


Ask the Expert – Brian Cox responds to audience questions about the experiment

Short videos – celebrities such as Dara O'Briain and Ben Miller will attempt to explain the Big Bang, CERN, God and the Universe

A feature and gallery about CERN and its role in contemporary science fiction, from Dan Brown to Torchwood

A chance to listen to the day's programmes for seven days after broadcast, as well as a download of the Torchwood Afternoon Play.


Programming for Big Bang Day on BBC Radio 4


Radio 4 Publicity








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Category: Radio 4
Date: 07.08.2008
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