5 Great Geek Tourist Spots

Are you one of those people who get high on science? Do you get goosebumps while listening to cosmic music or visiting places of scientific importance? If your answer is ‘Yes’ to both, read on. This article is for those geeks who love their science and are proud of it. The article talks about the famous and scientifically important places and is based on information taken from the book ‘The Geek Atlas’ by John Graham-Cumming.

1. CERN, Geneva, Switzerland:

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the largest Particle Physics laboratory in the world and operates six particle accelerators and the new Large Hadron Collider. Visiting CERN takes half a day because it is enormous and most of it is underground. All visits are guided tours by people working at CERN. Typical tours include the LINAC and LEIR accelerators; the COMPASS particle detector; the anti-proton decelerator, which is used to make anti-matter; the CAST and AMS experiments used to find particles coming from the cosmos; parts of the Large Hadron Collider; and/or the computing resources of CERN. Visiting CERN requires you to book months in advance, but visits are free. Be sure to carefully read the information about what to wear and CERN’s safety rules before arriving, to avoid being refused entry.

2. Musée Curie, Paris, France:

This is the place where Madame Marie Curie worked with radioactive material without any safety equipment. But in 1980s, the whole building was decontaminated and turned into a tourist spot and museum. The museum covers the life and work of two couples: Pierre and Marie Curie and their daughter and her husband, Irene and Frederic Joliot-Curie. The main part of this small museum consists of Marie Curie’s office and her chemistry laboratory. Both have been restored to the state they were in at the time of her research. There’s a good collection of the Curies’ notes and equipment, including the apparatus used to detect radiation. The museum is part of the Institut Curie, a French cancer research organization. The museum organizes tours in English once per week; the tours are free, and no reservation is needed.

3. Greenwich, London, UK:

Denoted by 51° 28’ 44.76”N and 0° 0’ 0”E, Greenwich has the prime meridian running right through the Royal Observatory and is literally the centre of the earth. The Royal Observatory has been at Greenwich since 1675 and was of great importance in maintaining Britain’s naval power: observations of planets, moons and stars were needed for the nautical almanacs used for navigation. Close to the Royal Observatory is the National Maritime Museum, which contains the clock that revolutionized navigation in 1759—John Harrison’s H4 marine chronometer. Also on display at the National Maritime Museum are three clocks that Harrison built prior to the H4: logically enough, these are called the H1, H2, and H3. These three clocks are still running today; the H4 still works, but is only wound on rare occasions to avoid wearing out its components. The observatory and museum are inside Greenwich Park, which affords a wonderful view over London and a good place for a picnic lunch. Entry to the Royal Observatory, the National Maritime Museum, and Greenwich Park is free.

4. Tesla Museum, Belgrade, Serbia:

Nikola Tesla, the man who lit up the world, was born in Serbia (now Croatia) and then moved to America. Although AC power was the biggest brain child of Tesla, his inventions were not limited to it. Along with Marconi, he shares the honour of inventing radio and he worked on wireless transmission of electricity, remote controls, vertical take-off and landing aircraft, directed-energy weaponry, robotics, spark plugs, and more. In all, he was awarded over 300 patents. Nevertheless, Tesla died destitute, in room 3327 of the New Yorker Hotel in New York City. Two thousand people attended his funeral. Today the Tesla Museum in Belgrade houses his complete collection of books, writing, and objects, as well as his cremated ashes on display in a golden sphere. The museum explains many of Tesla’s inventions, including AC power, and is the definitive place to understand Tesla’s life and work.

5. Kennedy Space Center, Florida, USA:

Source: WikiMedia

The Kennedy Space Center is the site of the launch of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, the Space Shuttle, and countless other spacecraft and is also a major tourist attraction. The standard tour included in the ticket price takes in the International Space Station Center, the Launch Complex 39 Observation Gantry and the Apollo/Saturn V Center. There are two other tours, which must be booked in advance: the NASA Up-Close Tour and the Cape Canaveral: Then & Now Tour. The Up-Close Tour takes visitors as close as possible to the shuttle launch pads, around the Vehicle Assembly Building, and on to view the gigantic Crawler Transporters used to move the Space Shuttle. The Cape Canaveral: Then & Now Tour takes visitors back to the launch pads used for the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo missions. This includes Launch Pad 34, where the Apollo 1 fire killed astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffe.

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