A joint Fermilab/SLAC publication

South Carolina gets its own ATLAS

01/30/09
Kristofoletti paints an ATLAS mural in South Carolina. Photo on flickr by Kristofoletti.

Kristofoletti paints an ATLAS mural in South Carolina. Photo on flickr by Kristofoletti.

If you're a fan of the Large Hadron Collider, you might see something familiar when driving around the streets of historic Charleston, South Carolina. Mural artist Josef Kristofoletti spent three weeks in September 2008, just after the LHC's highly publicized launch and subsequent shutdown, painting a representation of the ATLAS detector on the wall of the Redux Contemporary Art Center.

Kristofoletti and his wife Amy created this time-lapse video of the mural's creation. You can also see a set of still images.

A lifelong fan of science, and a fan of CERN since an introductory physics class in college, Kristofoletti wanted to create something timely and CERN-related for his part of the exhibit The Sun Machine Is Coming Down.

"What got me painting murals was working in Italy for a couple of years and seeing the murals of the Renaissance. The subject of most of those works is religious mythology. When I think about the LHC it always seems like an unprecedented cathedral of science. I thought this would be a modern-day version of a Renaissance mural."

As with the creation of the real ATLAS detector, Kristofoletti faced a few setbacks along the way. Approached by a policeman who thought he was covering the wall with graffitti, he explained what he was doing and that the painting was of one of the particle detectors at CERN. The policeman had heard of CERN and the LHC, and let the painting continue, but not without a quick discussion of much-publicized doomsday scenarios.

Kristofoletti arranged for the head of the physics department of the College of Charleston to attend the exhibit opening and give a brief introduction to the LHC. "People enjoyed having something that touched on both art and science," he said. "Humans have always tried to find out where we came from and where things originate, and I think that's why this captures people's imagination."

ANGEL OF THE HIGGS BOSON from josef Kristofoletti on Vimeo.

Latest news articles

01/23/17
Fermilab

Fermilab is turning 50! So how did it all start?

01/19/17

Matter-antimatter mystery remains unsolved

Measuring with high precision, physicists at CERN found a property of antiprotons perfectly mirrored that of protons.

01/13/17
CERN

This is an important milestone on the way to research at the first light-source laboratory in the Middle East.

12/26/16
Washington Post

Rubin’s groundbreaking discoveries revolutionized the way scientists observe, measure and understand the universe.