Visitors at the Michigan State University’s Science Festival connect from East Lansing with ATLAS MSU physicist Daniel Hayden (right) at CERN. (Image: MSU)

On 5 and 6 April, Michigan State University's ATLAS physicists who are based at CERN connected virtually via video-conference to visitors attending the annual Science Festival in East Lansing, USA, to talk about particle physics and what it is like to be a physicist.

"It was interesting and a lot of fun to meet via video with the people there and share with them our lives at CERN," says Barbara Alvarez Gonzalez, postdoc with Michigan State University.

The MSU physicists connected from the ATLAS Control Room, SM18, the CERN Teachers Lab and their office at CERN. Besides the virtual visits, the MSU ATLAS group also created videos of what it is like to be a particle physicist and life at CERN.

Michigan State University’s ATLAS physicists in their CERN office: (Back row, from left) Joey Huston, Chris Willis, Matthew Mondragon, Andrew Chegwidden, Brad Schoenrock, Ivan Pogrebnyak, Reinhard Schwienhorst. (Front row, from left) Duc Bao Ta, Barbara Alvarez Gonzalez, Daniel Hayden, Garabed Halladjian. (Image: MSU)

At East Lansing, ATLAS had a stand run by physicists based at Michigan State, where visitors could participate in other activities like pre-prepared videos about CERN and the MSU CERN group, 3D viewers and information leaflets.

Around 100 people passed by the ATLAS stand at East Lansing each day.

The feedback left by the visitors said they had found the information and interaction interesting, educational, with a majority of the visitors saying that they or their children had gained new interest in something about science.

Other activities of the festival included science demonstrations, lectures, hands-on activities, exhibits, and guided tours.