Book and Prepare Your Virtual Visit

What is a Virtual Visit?

A Virtual Visit is a live link-up to the ATLAS experiment’s control room at CERN. It is a chance to experience CERN from your school or institute, and talk about particle physics with a guide who is a scientist or engineer working on the ATLAS experiment. Virtual visits last up to one hour. We try to assign guides from the same country as the participants.

A Virtual Visit usually comes in two parts:

First, the guides introduce themselves and describe the career path that led to their current work in particle physics, followed by a brief introduction to CERN, what the Large Hadron Collider is and does, the ATLAS experiment and its aims.

Then, the virtual guides invite questions from the audience for the rest of the session. This is normally the most important part of the visit.

Participants interact with the virtual guide via Vidyo, a video conferencing service that can be downloaded for free. A test of the Vidyo connection and software will be organised prior to the visit to ensure that everything is working. Participants not able to be part of the main vidyo connection can follow the visit on the web, through the event-specific pages created on this site.


Technical requirements for participation

The following is a checklist for remote locations, such as classrooms or science fairs, who would like to participate in an ATLAS Virtual Visit:

A recent PC with a (preferably wired) network of minimum 1.0 Mbps and an echo-cancelling microphone/speaker suitable for the room -- OR --  a standard H.323 video conferencing device (Polycom, Tandberg, etc.) 

And, above all: have a lot of curiosity and plenty of questions to ask!


Booking your Virtual Visit

Setting up a Virtual Visit takes a bit of time, initial contact is recommended to be made about 4 weeks in advance and certainly no fewer than 5 working days before the event.

Guests have to complete the Booking form attached below and send it to We will check if the system is available at the requested date and time and book your visit. 

As soon as your visit is booked, we will introduce you to the operator who will handle the technical part of the visit. The first step is to organize a test of the quality of sound, image and connection. We very strongly recommend you to perform the test with the same equipment you will use on the day of the visit. Instructions to load and become familiar with the Vidyo tool are provided in the right-hand side menu.

Note that all operators and virtual guides are scientists who contribute to Virtual Visits in their spare time. Finding an operator outside CERN working hours (i.e. starting before 8:30 and finishing after 5:30 pm, Monday to Friday) or during specially work-intensive periods is not always possible. Therefore, booking is only confirmed if an operator is found at least 5 working days before the visit and - if not - we may have to reschedule the visit. Last but not least, the ATLAS Visitor Centre welcomes many groups: although real and virtual visits can take place in parallel the quietest (and thus recommended) times are 8:30 to 11:30 am and 2:00 to 5:30 pm.


Publicity on Social Media

As soon as it is booked, your visit will appear as "Upcoming" on the Next Events page, which is the link we recommend for posts on social media. One week before the event, your Visit will be highlighted through a banner at the top of the page. 


On the Visit day

Please connect at least 10 minutes ahead of the visit time. If for any reason, our remote guests do not connect in time we will only be able to wait for the 15 minutes - maximum. For longer delays, the visit will have to be cancelled and rescheduled.

Your comments and feedback are more than welcome. They will help us to improve our visits, but also measure the interest and the impact of this program. A feedback form is available below.