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Science in Geneva

Geneva is a hotbed of science thanks to the international influence of the CERN as well as the vibrant nature and openness of the academic world and specialist museums.

Des jeunes autour d'une chauve-souris empaillée.

As Switzerland’s largest natural history museum, the Museum houses a collection of fifteen million stuffed animals ranging from tigers to jellyfish, as well as a selection of local fauna. Thanks to its historic collection of instruments, the Scientific History Museum retraces the evolution of scientific knowledge and the role played by Geneva’s 18th- and 19th-century academics who created such inventions as Horace-Bénédict de Saussure’s hair hygrometer and Auguste de la Rive’s machine designed to reproduce the polar aurora.

A living museum stretching over 28 hectares, the magnificent site of the Botanical Conservatory and Garden is home to illustrious and little-known plants, both tropical and alpine, rare and local. It also boasts a prestigious library and one of the largest herbariums in the world with six million samples.

In addition to exhibitions featuring their plant, animal and historical heritage, these three institutions propose numerous activities, each more original than the next, making the museums firm favourites with the locals. Families come in droves to enjoy the high-quality activities and workshops intended for younger visitors while specialists can attend debates and consult expert sources and everybody can take advantage of original initiatives and one-off events.

More than thirty museums, scientific cultural centres and universities from all six French-speaking cantons are brought together under the umbrella of the Science et Cité French-speaking network, which also maintains an up-to-date diary of all regional events focusing on science.


The European laboratory for particle physics, the CERN brings together more than 10,000 physicists keen to study the components and laws of the universe by means of experiments conducted in the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. It is in this hotbed of science that the World Wide Web was invented in 1989 by the British researcher Tim Berners-Lee. And it is here that a less specialised public can explore these mysteries of science by visiting the “Microcosm” exhibition and the Globe of Science and Innovation.

Supported by the City of Geneva, the Collide@CERN prize grants the winners an artists’ residency within the CERN, contributing to decompartmentalising knowledge by opening up original and refreshing avenues of thought.

The University of Geneva

Founded in 1559, the University of Geneva (UNIGE) is currently one of the largest universities in Switzerland, enjoying an excellent international reputation while fostering its openness to the world. It distinguishes itself through its outstanding intellectual heritage, its humanist tradition and the versatility of its teaching and research programmes, striving for excellence in all its chosen fields.

With a view to enhancing dialogue between the inhabitants of Geneva and their university, the institution has an exhibition area located in the Uni Carl Vogt building where researchers present their work to the general public. For anyone wishing to learn more about life sciences and biomedical sciences, discuss teaching innovations or explore the relationships between science and society, the University of Geneva’s Bioscope organises evenings open to the public throughout the year.

A few flagship events

Semaine du cerveau (March): different activities, conferences and roundtables are organised during the Semaine du cerveau, intended for the general public and offering activities for children.

Variations botaniques (April to November): thematic visits to the Botanical Conservatory and Garden, a genuine living museum, and its collections conducted by a specialist (horticulturist, botanist or curator). The visits take place on Tuesdays. Reservation required.

Nuit de la science (July, every two years): for an entire weekend, the Nuit de la science invites families to come and ask questions, learn, discuss, have fun and, most importantly, talk about science with researchers from a range of different backgrounds, all against the idyllic backdrop of the Parc de la Perle du Lac.

Colloques Wright (every two years in winter) organises public conferences with the aim of making recent scientific progress accessible to the general public and encouraging young people to look towards a career in science.

Nuit des chauves-souris (August): bats are at the heart of numerous myths and arouse unfounded fears, yet they are a quite fascinating mammal. See for yourself at the Nuit des chauves-souris, with specialists offering visitors the chance to observe this nocturnal animal and learn more about it. Children aged 6 and over accompanied by an adult. Registration recommended.

Cafés Scientifiques, Bancs publics (September to June): organised by the association Bancs publics, the cafés scientifiques encourage people to think about themes that can be difficult to address in other structures. The aim of these meetings is to create a forum where the public and specialists can talk and exchange ideas. Last Monday of every month at 6.30 p.m. on the ground floor of the Scientific History Museum.

Astronomical observations and conferences organised at the Scientific History Museum four times a year (once every season) in partnership with the Société astronomique de Genève.

Animasciences organises a range of scientific activities at the Maison de la Créativité intended for children aged 3 to 6, as well as incorporating scientific activities into the day workshops and holiday camps of the Mouvement de la jeunesse Suisse romande (MJSR).

Discover all the scientific events in the diary!

Reduced rates and access measures

In the museums of the City of Geneva, all areas dedicated to permanent collections are open to the public free of charge. On the first Sunday of every month, the temporary exhibitions are also free.

To ensure that these resources can be enjoyed by as many people as possible, the institutions have adopted a wide range of accessibility measures with regard to pricing.

Most of the museums are free up to the age of 18, while the 20ans/20francs card allows young people to benefit from reduced rates. Specific reductions also apply for senior citizens.

Thanks to the culture cheque book, anyone with a low income can benefit from cheques worth a total of 60 francs per year.

Finally, the City also implements accessibility measures for people with a handicap, either permanent or temporary, such as visits adapted to their needs.


Direction du Département de la culture et de la transition numérique

19 Route de Malagnou




Article modifié le 19.05.2022 à 10:41