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Stellantis helps fund CERN Science Gateway 

The car maker’s foundation provided almost half the funding for the emblematic centre for science education and outreach.

The car maker’s foundation provided almost half the funding for the emblematic centre for science education and outreach.

CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics ,  has inaugurated a Science Gateway, a new state-of-the-art facility for science education and outreach.

The overall cost of Science Gateway was about 100 million Swiss francs, and this was funded exclusively through donations. In particular, the Stellantis Foundation is the largest single donor and contributed 45 million Swiss francs towards the project. 

The ceremony took place in a new 900-seat auditorium, named after Sergio Marchionne, former CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, who recently passed away. 

“CERN is an example of how we can work together in harmony, using scientific knowledge and ingenuity for the greater good,” said John Elkann, chairman of Stellantis, during the opening of the facility last week. “Stellantis Foundation is proud to partner with such an institution as it opens to the public the new Science Gateway, which also celebrates a great innovator like Sergio Marchionne. 

“My family and I strongly believe in the power of education, which is the mission of the Fondazione Agnelli: a commitment we reinforce today with conviction and passion.”

As part of wider society, says Stellantis, the company takes action to advance human achievement. As a result, through its philanthropic activities and its Foundation, Stellantis invests in individuals through education projects that spark innovation and excellence.

Designed by world-renowned Renzo Piano Building Workshop, the new facility is open to visitors from around the world, from the age of five and upwards. It will allow CERN to significantly expand its portfolio of educational and outreach activities.

CERN is the home of the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator.

The inauguration ceremony began with an address by Fabiola Gianotti, the CERN director-general, who stressed the value of education and outreach with the public. 

“Sharing CERN’s research and the beauty and utility of science with the public has always been a key objective and activity of CERN, and with Science Gateway, as of tomorrow, we can expand significantly this component of our mission,” she said. “We want to show the importance of fundamental research and its applications to society, infuse everyone who comes here with curiosity and a passion for science, and inspire young people to take up careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). 

“Science Gateway will be a place where scientists and the public can interact daily. For me, personally, Science Gateway is a dream that has become a reality and I am deeply grateful to all the people who have contributed, starting with our generous donors.”

The iconic building, inspired by the tubular structure of CERN’s accelerators, comprises five areas housing exhibitions, laboratories and an auditorium that can be flexibly configured into different spaces depending on requirements, as well as a shop and a restaurant.

The transparent glass panels and bridges further represent CERN’s commitment to collaboration across borders and culture and open science that is accessible to all.

Renzo Piano, chief architect of the project, said: “This will be a place where people meet: kids, students, adults, teachers and scientists, everybody attracted by the exploration of the Universe, from the infinitely vast to the infinitely small. It is a bridge, in both a metaphorical and a real sense. This building is fed by the energy of the Sun, landed in the middle of a newly grown forest.”

Not only is the building visually striking, but CERN and the architects committed to it being fully carbon neutral, and almost 4,000 square metres of solar panels supply more power than the building’s needs. Over 400 trees have been planted, situating the whole campus in a living forest.

While the full project was launched in 2018, construction of the Science Gateway campus took just over two years, with the first stone of the building being laid on 21 June 2021.

This new facility would not have been possible without the support of the CERN Science Gateway sponsors. 

The Fondation Hans Wilsdorf is also a major donor. Other donors are the LEGO foundation, the Loterie Romande, Ernst Göhner Stiftung, Rolex, the Carla Fendi Foundation, the Fondation Gelbert, Solvay, the Fondation Meyrinoise du Casino and the town of Meyrin.

The new centre is expected to host up to 500,000 visitors a year from across the world. It will be free of charge and open 6 days a week, from Tuesday to Sunday. 

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