The organisers of Sparks! would like to thank all participants, members of the Sparks! team, and the partners for their involvement and support during the first hybrid edition of the Sparks! Serendipity Forum.

The full webcast of the Sparks! Public Event can be watched here.

Watch the full WEBCAST of the Sparks! Forum at CERN here

Webcast Link



Sparks!, the serendipity forum, a two-day multidisciplinary science innovation forum and public event

CERN launched an annual two-day multidisciplinary science innovation forum and public event. Sparks! the serendipity forum at CERN, brings together renowned scientists from diverse fields around the world, along with decision makers, representatives of industry, philanthropists, ethicists and the public to bring a novel, multi-faceted approach to addressing some of the big questions of our time.

The goal? To foster a new community and develop a platform to spark innovation in issues related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics that are relevant to society, and further CERN's mission towards peace in science.

Sparks! is starting with a cycle of three pilot events from 2021 to 2023, each focusing on a single theme to test the concept. Experience gained from this cycle will lead to a yearly event with multiple themes addressed each year. The event will become a flagship for CERN's new Science Gateway which is scheduled to open its doors to the public in 2023. The theme of the first edition is future intelligence.

First edition theme: Future Intelligence

The theme of the first edition of Sparks was Future Intelligence. The flow, analysis and interpretation of vast amounts of information is a core strength of CERN, in particular when searching for tiny signals in vast datasets, while avoiding bias and being open to novel technologies. As the particle physics challenge intensifies, CERN is set to be at the forefront of bringing together big data and Artificial Intelligence. 

CERN benefited from the cutting-edge learning that the forum afforded, and participants gained from lessons learned by CERN in mining the LHC data streams. Together, the invited participants, from diverse backgrounds beyond AI such as neuroscience, psychology, philosophy and ethics, and CERN scientists exchanged visions on the development of the field, and set tangible directions for a future course. The forum discussions formed and informed the public event sparking new questions on what it all means to the future of our global society.

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Sparks! Launch 

The Sparks! Forum was originally planned to take place in 2020, however due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Sparks! Launch took place virtually on 26 November 2020. 

Professors Anima Anandkumar, Jürgen Schmidhuber, Francesca Rossi and Stuart Russell, talked about the current status of the field of AI research today, setting the scene for the discussion about the future of the field during the event in 2021. Host Bruno Giussani, Global Curator of TED, interviewed CERN AI experts Jennifer Ngadiuba, Sofia Vallecorsa and Micheal Kagan on how CERN and other big science can benefit from AI and the topics we then adressed during the first edition in 2021. 

You can watch the launch here to give you an insight into the world of future intelligence, and to find out more about what attending a Sparks! Public Event might be like.