Switzerland: Einstein, Art & a Visit to CERN

Science and art enthusiasts will delight in this unique journey to Switzerland, which showcases Albert Einstein, exceptional Swiss museums, and a visit to the Supercollider campus at CERN which houses the world’s most advanced scientific equipment. Experience a behind-the-scenes meeting with scientists who work on a detector on the Large Hadron Collider. Take guided tours of Kunsthaus Art Museum's modern art collection, and in Bern, visit Einsteinhaus, where Einstein lived. Savor delicious Swiss wines and food, including a traditional raclette fondue lunch in the medieval town of Gruyères.


Aug 27 - Sep 3, 2022  (8 Days)
$7,995 per person, double occupancy
For more Information

(415) 597-6720

    Saturday, August 27
    Depart the U.S. for Zurich
    Sunday, August 28
    Zürich, Switzerland

    Arrive at Zürich International Airport and transfer to the Glockenhof hotel. For travelers arriving early, there are optional afternoon excursions by train to the summit of Uetliberg for panoramic views of Zürich and the lake 1500 feet below, and by foot through Old Town’s network of cobbled streets, along the banks of the River Limmat, including a stop at the Fraumünster Church to admire the vibrant artistry of Chagall’s stained glass windows that illuminate the choir in primary colors. Or you may choose to spend the afternoon at leisure to relax and recover from jet lag. This evening, meet fellow travelers at a welcome reception at the hotel. Hotel Glockenhof (R)

    Monday, August 29

    Following breakfast, gather in a private room at the hotel for a welcome orientation and first lecture, followed by a specially arranged visit to the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), the largest Swiss national multidisciplinary research center. After lunch at the PSI, visit the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) campus for panoramic views of Zürich and to learn about Albert Einstein at the university where he studied and taught—and whose faculty includes 20 more Nobel laureates. The evening is at leisure to delight independently in one of Zürich’s many fine restaurants. Hotel Glockenhof (B,L)

    Tuesday, August 30
    Zürich / Bern

    This morning tour the Kunsthaus art museum to see its comprehensive collection of Swiss art and other European masterpieces by the likes of Manet, Magritte, Matisse, Mondrian, Monet, and Munch— merely confining ourselves to the letter M! From there we depart Zürich for Bern, where we’ll enjoy traditional Swiss fare at a favorite restaurant, followed by a refreshing walking tour of the best-preserved historic town center in Switzerland—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visit the Einstein House, where Albert Einstein lived while working as a patent examiner and had his miracle year of 1905 when he published four groundbreaking papers on the photoelectric effect, Brownian motion, the special theory of relativity, and the equivalence of mass and energy. And tour the Einstein Museum, which features fascinating insights and artifacts pertaining to both his work and personal life. Check in at our luxury hotel, where we’ll continue our lecture series, followed by dinner together at another restaurant gem. Bellevue Palace (B,L,D)

    Wednesday, August 31
    Bern / Geneva

    In the morning—following the third installment in our fascinating lecture series—depart for Geneva through the craggy mountain and verdant lowland scenery of the Gruyère district, famous for its cheese. Stroll the charming village of Gruyères along the cobblestone street that slopes down from the impressive hilltop castle, past whitewashed shops decorated with flower boxes, flags and hanging wrought iron signs, and savor a traditional raclette luncheon. Arriving in Geneva, tour the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum to learn how local businessman Henri Dunant, shocked to see wounded soldiers left to fend for themselves, inspired a local charity to begin providing relief—identifying themselves with inverted Swiss flags—and then the Swiss parliament to convene international conferences culminating in the Geneva Conventions. Dunant shared the first Nobel Peace Prize in 1901. Check in to our hotel just steps from the historic Quai du MontBlanc lakeside promenade, and from this central location enjoy an evening at leisure to explore on your own. Mandarin Oriental (B,L)

    Thursday, September 1

    View rare and antiquated scientific instruments together with methods and discoveries from the 17th to the 19th centuries at the Musée d’Histoire des Sciences housed in Villa Bartholoni, one of Geneva’s most beautiful neoclassical buildings. After lunch at one of Geneva’s fine restaurants, choose between an afternoon at leisure or optional excursions, including a boat tour and walking tour of Old Town, and a visit to the Bodmer Library and Museum in the company of Cornell's European Studies librarian, Sarah How. Martin Bodmer inherited a large fortune and was a scholar, bibliophile, and collector. During World War II, he worked with the Red Cross to get books into the hands of prisoners of war and served as the vice president of the Red Cross after the war. His collection in the refined suburb of Cologny includes some of the oldest copies of the New Testament, a Gutenberg Bible, a First Folio of Shakespeare, and a copy of Newton’s Principia owned by Leibniz. The final lecture of our series sets up tomorrow’s visit to CERN, then the remainder of the evening is again free to explore Geneva on your own. Mandarin Oriental (B,L)

    Friday, September 2

    This morning, head to CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), the world’s largest particle physics laboratory and one of the most sophisticated centers of scientific research. Special arrangements have been made for private, guided tours and exclusive behind-thescenes presentations of CERN. Meet with scientists at one of the detectors for a behind-the-scenes look at the site, above ground facilities, and a private talk regarding the ongoing research. After a vigorous discussion of the Standard Model over lunch at the CERN cafeteria, continue on the to the main center of CERN to explore the Microcosms Exhibit and the Universe of Particles Sphere. In the evening, savor reminiscences of all our adventures in Switzerland over our farewell dinner. Mandarin Oriental (B,L,D)

    Saturday, September 3
    Geneva / U.S.

    Check out of the hotel and transfer to Geneva International Airport for return flights to the U.S. (B)


    $7,995 per person, double occupancy
    $1,500 single room occupancy supplement

    All accommodations, meals, and excursions as specified in the itinerary, including six hotel nights • Comprehensive program of briefings, lectures, and presentations • Transfers for all participants on group arrival and departure dates • Gratuities to guides, drivers, porters, and wait staff for all group activities • Entrance fees • Welcome wine reception • Baggage handling • House wine, beer, and soft drinks with all group lunches and dinners • Water on motorcoaches • Complete packet of pre-departure information • Professional tour manager throughout the program

    U.S. domestic and international airfare • Passport/visa expenses • Medical expenses and immunizations • Travel and trip cancellation insurance • Private transfers or airport transfers outside of group arrival and departure days • Personal excursions or deviations from the scheduled tour • Airline baggage charges • Meals not specified in the itinerary; dishes and beverages not part of the included meals; liquor or soft drinks except as noted • Laundry or dry cleaning • Telephone, fax, internet, and email charges • Room service • Other items of a personal nature

    What to Expect

    This is a moderately active program. Travelers should be able to walk unassisted for 2-4 miles over the course of a day and be prepared to be on their feet for 1-2 hours at a time during excursions or museum visits. Additionally, there will be cobblestones and uneven terrain to navigate at times and occasionally sites with stairs and no elevator access. All participants should be in good health and capable of keeping up with an active group of travelers.

    Learn from expert local guides and speakers, and our group study leader Jim Alexander.
    Trip Educators
    Jim Alexander

    Jim Alexander is a professor and director of graduate studies in the Department of Physics at Cornell University. He is part of a global collaboration conducting data analysis and detector commissioning at the CMS experiment at CERN, searching for signatures of new physics phenomena such as the existence of dark matter.

    Complete Terms and Conditions including a Statement of Responsibility will be made available to you at the time of registration, or in advance upon request. A signed “Terms & Conditions, Release from Liability, Assumption of Risk and Binding Arbitration Clause” is required from each applicant prior to participation on the tour.

    U.S. domestic and international airfare is not included in the program rates. Valerie Wilson Travel, Inc., can help with airline arrangements for this trip and can be reached at 877-376-1754. You are also welcome to book your air transportation through your local travel agent, an online travel site, or the airline of your choice.

    This program is limited to 30 participants, including travelers from Cornell’s Adult University and Commonwealth Club of California.

    We require membership to the Commonwealth Club to travel with us. People who live outside of the Bay Area may purchase a worldwide membership. To learn about membership types and to purchase a membership, visit our membership page or call (415) 597-6720.

    We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance, which is available for coverage of expenses in conjunction with cancellation due to illness or accident. Baggage insurance is also recommended. In the event you must cancel your participation in the travel program, trip cancellation insurance may be the only source of reimbursement. Information will be sent upon registration and can be viewed Travel Insurance Services website

    Tour rates are based upon current fuel prices, currency values, taxes, tariffs, and a minimum number of participants. While we will do everything possible to maintain the listed prices, they are subject to change. If there are significant changes, details and costs will be advised prior to departure

    A deposit of $1,000 per person is required to reserve space on this program.

    Final payment is due May 30, 2022, and needs to be by check or bank transfer. For those who register after May 30, 2022, full payment is due upon registration.

    Upon payment of the $1,000 per person deposit, all reservations are subject to the cancellation provisions set forth below and by which the passenger agrees to be bound. Cancellations shall not be in effect until they are received in writing and confirmed by Commonwealth Club Travel. Deposits are refundable until the final payment deadline (May 30, 2022).

    Cancellations after May 30, 2022: All payments are 100% non-refundable, regardless of the booking date. Trip cancellation insurance is strongly recommended.

    NOTE: Neither the Commonwealth Club nor the tour operator accepts liability for any airline cancellation penalties incurred with the purchase of nonrefundable tickets.

    All participants should be in good health and capable of keeping up with an active group of travelers. By forwarding the deposit for passage, the passenger certifies that he/she does not have any physical or other condition or disability that would create a hazard for him/ herself or other passengers. SARSCOV-2 (COVID 19) vaccinations are a requirement for participation on this program. Up-to-date COVID-specific protocols and requirements for this destination will be sent to confirmed participants and are available upon request. Every reasonable effort will be made to operate the program as planned; however, should unforeseen world events and conditions require the itinerary to be altered, the tour operator reserves the right to do so for the safety and best interest of the group. Any extra expenses incurred in this situation are the responsibility of the participant.