The Scientific Instrument Society organises a study tour each year, a sort of multi-day museum crawl, and this year it is in Switzerland. I have always wanted to go on one, and now that I dont have classes to worry about, I can. So Kerry and I are in Geneva, and today was the first day. We set off at 7:30am for CERN, and were lucky to have SIS member Erik Heijne as a guide. He has developed the silicon array detectors that are used in thousands in the Compact Muon Solenoid that was recently used to 'discover' the Higgs boson. We drove the 10km into France to the other side of the LHC and were able to go down into the cavern 90m below and see the detector. Big. And literally thousands of km of connection wires.

Another highlight for lovers of old stuff was a sneak pre-opening preview of CERN's 60th aniversary project. They have turned the remains of their first accelerator, the synchro-cyclotron, into an exhibit. It has a great son et lumiere show where diagrams of the internal operations are projected onto the machine, along with a stirring narration. We had lunch in the CERN canteen along with thousands of others. The food was good.

Before we left we made a pilgrimage to see the surviving server that Tim Berners-Lee used to run the first World Wide Web in 1989.

Back in Geneva city we visited the Voltaire Institute and Museum in a house he lived in for some years. The curators got out some nice manuscripts to show us, like letters he had written, and drafts of plays, and also a first edition of Diderot's Encyclopedie that he had contributed to, and his book on Newtonian philosophy. There was a portrait of his lady friend  Emilie du Chatelet, who translated Newton's Principia and was one of the first to propose the idea of kinetic energy proportional to the square of velocity.

This is one book he did not publish anonymously.