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Self seeks philosophical focus from tour of CERN

A BBC Radio 4 programme fronted by Professor Will Self seeks to summarise the wonder of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN for those who don’t consider physics their first language.

In five programmes entitled ‘Self Orbits CERN’, Brunel’s professor of contemporary thought embarks on a 50km walking tour of the facility in an attempt to capture the scale of the operation, and thereby grasp it intellectually.

Encouraged to take part in the unique project by fellow Brunel academic and professor of particle physics Akram Khan, Prof Self admitted he had no visual concept of the collider in the French and Swiss countryside – envisaging Superman’s ice palace or a velvet-lined boudoir.

In the first of the five programmes Prof Self tackled the philosophy of particle physics and questioned whether the facility could truly provide the answers to big questions such as where we come from and who we are.

The first episode is available here, with future episodes being broadcast at 1.45pm each day this week.