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Illustration of 6 CMS Banners
Xavier Cortada

A banner day at the LHC

An artist honors the people and science of the CMS collaboration.

There’s a new splash of color at Point Five, the home of CMS detector on the Large Hadron Collider. Five vivid banners drape the gray walls of the complex, lending the warehouse a cathedral-like atmosphere. Arranged in a line, they pull the viewer’s gaze from panel to panel to land on a true-to-scale photo of the detector itself, magnificently displayed on the back wall. 

Art and science are both professions that move humanity forward, says the artist, Xavier Cortada from Florida International University of Architecture. He dreamed up the banner design with help from CMS physicist Pete Markowitz.

Photo of LHC Banner Artist

CMS physicists Pete Markowitz and Michael Hoch with artist Xavier Cortada

Richard Breedon

“Banners, like flags, mark important events like discoveries of new lands, power and achievement,” says Cortada. “I wanted to include the emblem of [the experiment’s] achievements—the event display.” 

Each of Cortada’s five banners artistically interprets a different combination of particles into which theorists predicted the Higgs boson would decay—two photons, two Z bosons, two W bosons, two bottom quarks and two tau leptons.

Incorporating selected pages from every article published by CMS, the banners pay homage to collaboration’s more than 4000 scientists and focus on what Cortada considers to be the CMS experiment's dual legacy: building upon the work of those who came before and inspiring the generations to follow.

Illustration of 6 LHC Banners

Click on the image for a larger view.

Xavier Cortada