I ran my own blog from November 2006 till October 2014. All posts are still online, but I don't have time to update it anymore. Please note that all images and media files have been removed when the backup was moved to a new host in early 2016. Enjoy!

Introducing CERN, the world's largest particle physics lab

29. november 2007

The CERN is the world's largest particle physics laboratory and a leader in high-energy physics research. It was founded by 12 european States in 1954 and is situated just northwest of Geneva on the border between France and Switzerland. The complex also has a large computer centre, which is best known for the invention of the World Wide Web (WWW, what most people call the "Internet" today) by Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau in 1990.

It offers multiple particle accelerators and technologies for physics research, scientists and experts from all around the world are collaboration here to study the nature of energy and matter. There are about 2600 full-time employees, and almost 8000 scientists and engineers work on experiments conducted at CERN. A large number of important achievements in particle physics have been made at CERN, including the discovery of W and Z bosons, the determination of the number of neutrino families, the creation of antihydrogen atoms or the discovery of direct CP-violation for example.

Currently work on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is in progress, which will be the largest acceleration ever built by mankind. It consists of a 27 km circular tunnel located 100 meters under the surface and shall be ready in 2008. The LHC will be running six experiments and generate a tremendous amount of computer data which required the design of completely new network technologies. The following image shows the ATLAS and CMS experiments (check out the engineers on the images to get an impression of their size): 

"CERN" originally stood for "Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire" (which is french for "European Council for Nuclear Research"). The name was changed into European Organization for Nuclear Research shortly after it was founded, nevertheless the "CERN" abbreviation was kept as it had been widely accepted.