Geneva, 13 March 2009. Web veteran Robert Cailliau today launched CERNland, a new website for young people, on the occasion of the Web's 20th anniversary. CERNland has been developed to bring the excitement of CERN's research to a young audience aged 7 to 12 through a range of films, games and multimedia applications. It is available at http://www.cern.ch/cernland.
"I've been involved with CERNland from the start," said Cailliau, "and it's great to see CERN using the Web to reach out to a young audience."
As the first collaborator of Web-inventor Tim Berners-Lee on his fledgling project 20 years ago, Cailliau has also been involved with the Web from the start. While Berners-Lee developed the technology of the Web, Cailliau spread the word, first at CERN and then further afield.
Young people are an important audience for CERN. There is increasing demand for a physics-literate graduate population, coupled with falling enrolment in physics courses at the university level.
"Society needs more physicists across a range of industries," said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer, "and the way to attract young people in to physics is to engage them early with the kind of discovery-science we do here at CERN, addressing some of the most fundamental questions about our Universe."
CERNland has been developed with the help of professional educators, and assisted by some of the young people it's been designed to reach. Their input has been incorporated into the site's design.
"It was highly rewarding to let a group of students loose on CERNland," said the Director General. "It was amazing to see how easily they engaged, and how quickly they learned."
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CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. India, Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.