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GOOD Design Daily: Portrait of a Particle Accelerator

Artist Josef Kristofoletti painted a life-sized mural of the seven-ton particle accelerator at the Large Hadron Collider.

How exactly do you capture the seven-ton glory of the largest particle accelerator ever created? Josef Kristofoletti is the lucky artist who was picked to paint a large scale mural of ATLAS, one of six collider experiments at the Large Hadron Collider found at CERN, the European Organization of Nuclear Research. And he did it on the exterior of the building where the accelerator is actually housed.


Kristofoletti has created plenty of murals, notably, with the group Transit Antenna, a collective that travels throughout the United States painting public art. But this project was both the biggest and most complicated undertaking Kristofoletti had embarked upon. After meeting with physicists at the facility on the Switzerland-France border, Kristofoletti was taken to see the collider, located in what's maybe one of the most secure rooms on the planet:
I started going through the most high secure checkpoint I have ever seen. The workers go through a complex biometric security system that includes a retinal scan. They all wear a dosimeter that measures radiation levels and there are plenty of safety warning labels on everything. We took the elevator down, then stepped out to look at the beast. There were a few men inside the detector doing some last minute work, but they were reduced to ants by huge size of its metal parts. It was sublime.

Kristofoletti mapped out the approved design over the giant four-story building, but even as he started painting he had to endure the gentle criticism of the scientists working at the facility. "Every once in a while one of the physicists would confront me, very seriously, about how some part of the detector was not drawn properly," he says. "I respect that because for many of them this is a life's work. Some have been there for twenty years going over the smallest details thousands of times. The whole detector is exactly precise to within one millimeter. I tried to explain to them that I was just making a painting."

via HuffPo Arts