What will our future hold?

Guest contributor: Jodie Muraca, Visitor Services Officer, Hadron Collider: Step Inside the World’s Greatest Experiment exhibition

As a Queensland Museum Visitor Services Officer I have the opportunity to engage with visitors about the compelling story of CERN and the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).  Alongside the fascinating exhibition objects, we utilise four engagement tools developed here at Queensland Museum, including the enchanting ‘New Discoveries Time Capsule’.

Time capsule entry from anonymous visitor

The sleek silver time capsule takes pride of place at the exhibition exit, enticing visitors with the question “What do you think will be a great discovery over the next 50 years?” we invite people to consider what they think or perhaps hope might have changed our way of life by 2066. Legions of people have shared their wild and wonderful views of what awaits humankind in the not too distant future, here are just a few of their ideas so far…

“Room temperature superconductors” – Daniel L. / Super conductive materials

Along with a cluster of visitors, Queensland Museum’s Alexander Hayward, Director, Research, Collections and Lifelong Learning, has predicted new discoveries that could directly result from the LHC.  Speaking on 4ZZZ, Hayward highlighted the use of super-conductive materials, and how the development of improved technologies for the Collider could lead to more widespread uses. One possible advancement could enable the movement of electricity from huge solar farms across long distances without significant energy losses, a welcome development for the vast plains of Australia.

Interplanetary travel is a popular prediction…

“We will be surviving predominately on GMO crops to sustain our population ” – Stephanie (Soon to be Dr) / GM-modified super crops

When a visitor encouraged their friend to “write down what you are working on”, I was intrigued.   Luckily, Stephanie happily shared her research into the impacts of genetically modified foods on different environments, along with ways to better monitor, predict and control effects.  No matter the future applications, it is reassuring to know one of our delightful museum visitors is ensuring a considered and responsible future.

Sneak peek inside the time capsual

“I think we will discover how to access our brain’s full potential” – Stacey and Echo

“Full brain mapping” – Eliza

These thought-provoking entries highlight a simple yet complex idea, that in many ways parallels the work at CERN.  Much like the innumerable possibilities arising from LHC experiments aiming to further our understanding of the universe; if we were able to accurately understand the mysterious ways in which our brains work, there could be endless applications that would change our world forever.

A fast growing assortment of contributions, some with accompanying drawings, predict flying transportation such as jet packs, hoverboards, flying rocket scooters, cars with wings and even a hover tractor.  It seems that zipping about the skies, free from the pitfalls of traffic and gravity is the enduring image of our future world.

While Queensland Museums works on a way to bend time and space to accommodate all the contributions, I look forward to many more captivating conversations over the coming months.

What do you think will be a great discovery over the next 50 years? Share your thoughts at Hadron Collider: Step Inside the World’s Greatest Experiment until 25 April 2017. Buy tickets online now.