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

CERN is launching an annual two-day multidisciplinary science innovation forum and public event. Sparks!, the serendipity forum at CERN, will bring 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, necessary for CERN, and that further CERN’s mission of science for peace.

Future Intelligence

The theme of the first edition of Sparks is 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 in the vanguard of a coming together of big data and Artificial Intelligence. 

While CERN will benefit from the cutting-edge learning that the forum will afford, participants will gain from lessons learned by CERN in mining the LHC data streams. Together, the invited participants, from a diverse background beyond AI such as neuroscience, psychology, philosophy and ethics, and CERN scientists will exchange visions on the development of the field, and set tangible directions for a future course. The forum discussions will form and inform the public event sparking new questions on what that all means to the future of our global society.


Watch the Sparks! launch event below


2020 - Sparks! Launch

Sparks! was launched on 26 November 2020:

  • Watch our VIRTUAL LAUNCH event above
  • Participate in the DISCUSSIONS and help drafting the narrative of the 2021 event 

2021 - First edition

The theme for the first edition of Sparks! is “Future Intelligence”. Sparks! will take place over two consecutive days in 2021:

  • January 2021 | Listen to our “Future Intelligence” podcast series
  • 17-18 September 2021 | CERN, Meyrin | Forum
  • 18 September 2021 | CERN, Meyrin | Public event


CERN operates some of the most complex scientific machinery ever built, relying on intricate control systems and generating petabyte upon petabyte of research data. Operating this equipment and performing analysis on the data gathered are both intensive tasks. Therefore, CERN is increasingly looking to the broad domain of artificial-intelligence (AI) research to address some of the challenges encountered  in dealing with data, particle beam handling, and in the up keep of its facilities.