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Photo credit: Julian Marius Ordan and Germano Massullo
Fluidic Data is a floor-to-ceiling installation that spans the four levels of the stairwell at the CERN Data Center. CERN is home to the world’s largest particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider. Through the interplay of water and light, the installation assists visitors in visualizing both real time and archived data from the collider while experiencing the magnitude and flow of information coming from the four major LHC experiments: ALICE, ATLAS, CMS, and LHCb. During LHC operation, the visualization is linked in real-time with the detectors, whereas archived data will be used during shut-down periods.
Inspired by plant systems, the installation’s kinetic design allows visitors to have a multi-sensory experience around the flow of data and discovery of particles. The design communicates the life and purpose of collected data as one ascends the stairway, with embedded particle visualizations in the form of transparent leaf and flower petal pods based on statistical measurements specific to each of the experiments. The 54 thermoplastic pods light up when the particles are traced.
Materials and techniques  used in the making of the LHC and experiments were incorporated into the installation. A complex pump system designed by CERN engineers visualizes data packets through patterns of colored dye segments that circulate through over 40 meters of hose spanning the 13 meter height of the stairwell. Four groupings of colored hoses represent the unique data set of each of the 4 experiments at CERN.   Fiber optic cables are used to transfer data to and from the experiments and to and from computer centers around the world through the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG): The world’s largest computing grid comprising over 170 computing facilities in a worldwide network across 42 countries. Using fiber optics expertise developed at the CERN Neutrino Platform, we were able to integrate a fiber optic system into the particle pods for day light viewing. the fiber optics create patterns that represent the four fundamental forces of nature: electromagnetic force, strong force, week force and the Higgs force.
A virtual kiosk will provide interactive information about how the installation visualizes the data, the symbology behind particle visualizations, and the LHC run-time conditions (or archived run details) driving the bubble frequency and size for each of the experiments. The Fluidic Data installation is designed to be both mesmerizing and meditative, an organic fusion of art and science that mimics natural systems and creates a repose in which visitors may assimilate information in a sensorial way.

For work in progress updates please visit:


“Fluidic Data” is a project of the CERN Data Center made possible with the assistance and expertise from all four experiments at CERN.


Agnes Chavez, Artist/Educator
Melissa Gaillard, Project Director
Johan Sebastian Bonilla, Data Visualization Design
Julien Leduc, IT and Data Specialist
Mayank Sharma, Electronic Engineering Design
Oliver Keller, Electronic Engineering Design
Jani Kalasniemi, Electronics
Marco Garlasche, Structural Engineer
Laurent Deparis, Fabrication Lead
Stephane Berry, Pump System Design
Umut Kose, Physicist/Fiber optic specialist
Harri Toivonen, Platform and space design
Esra Ozcesmeci, Electronics assistant


Despina Hatzifotiadou, ALICE
Johan Sebastian Bonilla, ATLAS
Dr. Steven Goldfarb, ATLAS
Thomas McCauley, CMS
Bolek Pietrzyk, LHcb


Leah Buechley
Porto Design Factory
Horacio Tome Marquez
Francisco Teixeira, MuArts Lab


Jeremiah Buchanan, prototyping
Jake Mingenbach, prototyping
Peter Gilroy, Titanium testing prototype
Anita McKeown, Pod prep