CERN Accelerating science


The purpose of IdeaSquare is to bring together people to generate new ideas and work on conceptual prototypes related to detection and imaging in an open environment. While not in peak use, it also can host special innovation-related events. Located in a technical hall (B3179) next to the Globe of Science and Innovation, it offers ad-hoc meeting space and rapid prototyping facilities for innovation-related projects. It brings together CERN personnel, visiting students, and external project collaborators from the domains of research, technology development and education, and contributes to KT Group activities in helping to shape and improve them further towards socially and globally relevant new product ideas and innovation. IdeaSquare is an experiment itself, and it explores new ways to demonstrate the value of basic research. It aims at delivering innovation to society at a marginal cost, the activities being covered outside the CERN annual budget. Experiences and feedback have been collected since August 2013, including an early pilot phase called IdeaLab which was successfully completed and taken over by the next development phase in IdeaSquare.


IdeaSquare Principles

1. Be curious, be ambitious. Dream

2. Contribute. Collaborate

3. Talk to the ones you have not met before

4. Share your surprise of discovering the unexpected. Share your story

5. Cut the red tape by using scissors, card board, duct tape … and produce a prototype

6. Ask for help before you need it

7. Take full advantage of the Hugging Corner

8. Don’t worry about making a mess here. The only way you create a mess is by leaving it behind unattended

9. Be prepared to explain what on Earth you are doing

10. It’s always better to check the electrical wiring before you shock yourself


R&D Projects

​IdeaSquare is a pefect place for detector R&D projects aiming at contributing to future CERN programs such as those listed below. Inspired by the pre-LHC R&D projects (so-called RD-projects) coordinated by CERN in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the aim is to offer a shared technical platform which, in parallel, has a strong connection to society. The emphasis will be on developing next-generation leading detector, imaging and related computing technologies. In addition to offering physical space for detector R&D, the purpose is to inspire next-generation scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs by exposing them to frontier R&D environment at CERN.



Experimental Innovation

Without experimentation, no real innovation is possible. The process of innovation can be as important as its products and other results as it in many times leads to unanticipated avenues and unexpected advances in our knowledge. In this process the importance of engaging and interacting between different contributing actors with heterogeneous backgrounds is well recognized in current literature and practice. A fruitful interaction with physicists, engineers and students from adjacent fields have resulted in many marvellous scientific advancements, for example the Hubble telescope, Mars Rovers, space satellites, sequencing of the human genome or finding the Higgs-particle.