Maihaugen Open Air Museum, Lillehammer

The Maihaugen open air museum is definitely worth a trip while in Lillehammer. According to their website, more than 200 houses are recreated from a number of periods, as early as 12th century.

Part of the trip involved reenactments from period actors in the ‘open houses’. For example, if you go inside a house there would be a person from the period talking about baking cinnamon rolls but she would provide a recipe for the time. There was also another actor from the 80s, including wearing 80s make-up, talking about their life to the visitors. If you ask them questions, they would answer as suitable to the time. For example, ask a 1950s ‘resident’ of the open house a question about fiber optics and they would not know how to answer.

The overall tour took about 2 to 2.5 hours.

Historical Oslo – Norsk Folkemuseum / Open-Air Museum and Viking Ship Museum

Norsk Folkemuseum Open-Air Museum

The Norsk Folkemuseum is most definitely well worth a visit while in Oslo and Norway in general. It is a bit offsite from the main city centre but it is worth the trek either via as part of a tour, via public transport, car, bike, and so on. This area even has some grazing fields where I spotted sheep and horses.

The Sámi people

One of the exhibitions, and mentioned in some of the houses, is of the Sámi people. The Sámi people are a Finno-Ugric people inhabiting Sápmi, which today encompasses large parts of Norway and Sweden, northern parts of Finland, and the Murmansk Oblast of Russia. There are still groups today, also speaking the language, but their existence were challenged due to Norwegianization attempts by the government some time ago.

Life in a 1800s farm

In the summer, visitors can see some activity going on around a 1800s farm.

For your amusement, a video I took this afternoon of a group of Smålens Geese aka Norwegian Spotted Geese waddling along with their caretakers at Bjørnstad, a large farm from Vågå, #Norway from the 1700’s.

According to their website, the Norsk Folkemuseum is located at Bygdøy in Oslo and has an Open-Air Museum with 160 historic buildings. The museum focuses on the time period from 1500 until present time, and in-door exhibits feature Norwegian folk costumes, folk art, church art and Sami culture. Temporary exhibits, audience programs and activities for children all year.

Norsk Folkemuseum Buildings

Unfortunately there was too much detail involved with the buildings and the history so I only have photos to offer. I would recommend looking their website to read more on the details.

Finnmark 1950s building

Viking Ship Museum

About a few minutes walk from from Maihaugen is the Viking Ship Museum which is composed of a few actual Viking ships which were discovered as burial ships as well as accompanying relics.

Luckily on offer were full-sized ships that have been restored. So much so that you can really smell the wood and finishings. Unfortunately, other items were already plundered at the time of discovery but they managed to get some bits and pieces – a piece of cloth here, in one case only the nails left.

One of the practical/ceremonial sleighs found in the Gokstad viking ship as part of items that were included in a burial.
The Oseberg viking ship. The Oseberg ship was built in southwestern Norway around the year 820, and is made of oak.
The Oseberg viking ship.
The Gokstad ship was built around 890 AD, at the height of the Viking period.  Around approximately 900 AD, a rich and powerful man died, and the Gokstad ship was used for his burial.
The Gokstad viking ship and person for scale.

CERN Open Days – Day 2 – Visiting ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) and the Prévessin Site

Our guide taking us underground where the actual particle transport take place – this is part of the 27km tunnel of the Large Hadron Collider. Our guide is a physicist with CERN since 1983 and is also shown here being interviewed in French!

Read Day 1 here – visiting LHCb (Large Hadron Collider beauty experiment), the CERN Axion Solar Telescope (CAST) searching for axions, LHCb Data Centre, and Scintillating Fibre Tracker

During the ‘long shutdown‘ CERN opened many of its site to be visited upon by thousands of visitors over a two day weekend on 14 and 15 of September 2019. I was one of those visitors, after having found out about the whole event in June on the morning that registrations opened.

ALICE (A Large Ion Collider Experiment) is a heavy-ion detector on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) ring. It is designed to study the physics of strongly interacting matter at extreme energy densities, where a phase of matter called quark-gluon plasma forms.

The ALICE Experiment seek to answer some fundamental questions, such as:

  • What happens to matter when it is heated to 100,000 times the temperature at the centre of the Sun?
  • Why do protons and neutrons weigh 100 times more than the quarks they are made of?
  • Can the quarks inside the protons and neutrons be freed?

Waiting for the tour was a process in itself – at least three hours spent standing in 25 to 27C sunny weather somewhere in a French village alongside many other people!

Close up, ALICE experiment. Note the absorber in the middle.
A lot of work happens underground beneath the ALICE site. Not part of ALICE in particular, but rather a part of the overall LHC experiment.
The ALICE portion of the LHC experiment itself though currently in the process of being upgraded as seen by the scaffolding.
Awesome Canadian guide who is also at CERN – arrived there studying engineering at a university in Vancouver. However this is not the guide itself talking to us about the specifics.
The underground area where the magic happens. Well, not really magic! This is where the particle collisions take place, or at least the transport of said particles.

Visiting the Prévessin Site

Unfortunately, I was really tired after ALICE and briefly spent time at the CERN Prévessin site which is named after a nearby French village. I went to an exhibition tent set up which also covered the specifics of LHC. The amount of specifics covered – from the absolute minute right through to the 27 or so kilometre site was amazing.

CERN Open Days – Day 1 – Visiting LHCb (Large Hadron Collider beauty experiment), the CERN Axion Solar Telescope (CAST) searching for axions, LHCb Data Centre, and Scintillating Fibre Tracker

During the ‘long shutdown‘ CERN opened many of its site to be visited upon by thousands of visitors over a two day weekend on 14 and 15 of September 2019. I was one of those visitors, after having found out about the whole event in June on the morning that registrations opened.

I managed to register at sites, but the way it functioned was that this was more like a registration as to when you arrive. Therefore, if you did not register for the sites that you wanted to visit you can still do so. There were ample opportunities to get registered. The biggest challenge was getting yourself to Geneva in the first place and making it to the sites. I managed to do a tour of two sites – the LHCb experiment (day 1) and ALICE (day 2).

Day 1: LHCb – Large Hadron Collider beauty experiment

The LHCb experiment is one of seven particle physics detector experiments collecting data at the Large Hadron Collider accelerator at CERN. LHCb is a specialized b-physics experiment, that is measuring the parameters of CP violation in the interactions of b-hadrons. The 5600-tonne LHCb detector is made up of a forward spectrometer and planar detectors. It is 21 metres long, 10 metres high and 13 metres wide, and sits 100 metres below ground near the village of Ferney-Voltaire, France. About 700 scientists from 66 different institutes and universities make up the LHCb collaboration (October 2013).

The tour group that we had was headed by a PhD student candidate in physics, who’s name was Bartosz although I didn’t catch the rest of this full name to give him credit!

The first stop (photo above) was the control room where he talked about a typical day of the scientists and operators involved in the 24/7 upkeep of the accelerator.

Next, we moved on to a few exhibition type of rooms holding a miniscale model of the accelerator, a map overlooking the entire area over some French villages on the Swiss borders.

And then it was time to go underground – about 102 to 103 metres underground! Below are photos of the LHCb experiment:

LHCb data centre

Following the tour underground, we headed overground to look at the data centre processing the results. These data centres are housed in separate containers outside the site and kept cool via the additional containers above it. It is expected that considerable amounts of data will be collected in the next iteration of LHCb and they are also preparing the data centres for it.

Following by two very notable and very interesting sites:

Quality control and assembly (for hardware, parts) site showing Scintillating Fibre Trackers

Unfortunately, I forgot the official name of this site, but they have a separate warehouse which is entirely dedicated to assembling the necessary components for the LHCb accelerator. In this case and during the Open Day, they have the Scintillating Fibre Tracker and paper here.

One of the amazing things to learn about this is that absolute precision that is required, as it requires to be absolutely straight. It cannot be even a few degrees tilt as it would affect accuracy of the results. Even the frame itself has mechanism to avoid condensation, as condensation itself would affect the ’tilt’.

The CERN Axion Solar Telescope (CAST)

The CERN Axion Solar Telescope (CAST) is an experiment to search for hypothetical particles called “axions”. This experiment has been ongoing for at least two decades and is set to continue on.

The telescope will actually only power for a brief moment, about 10 minutes, each sunrise and sunset collecting data. It requires immense power to refrigerate to -270C (temperature for outer space) and pictured below is one of the mechanisms to keep it cool:

And that is it for the first day! Coming soon will be all about the second day.