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What is CERN?. CERN. What Happens at CERN?. " In the matter of physics, the first lessons should contain nothing but what is experimental and interesting to see. A pretty experiment is in itself often more valuable than twenty formulae extracted from our minds."  - Albert Einstein.

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What Happens at CERN?

"In the matter of physics, the first lessons should contain nothing but what is experimental and interesting to see. A pretty experiment is in itself often more valuable than twenty formulae extracted from our minds."  - Albert Einstein


These are some of the early creators of modern physics, at the 7th Solvay Physics Congress in Brussels, 1933. Even though Max Born said at the time, "Physics as we know it will be over in six months," virtually all of particle physics followed this meeting.

JJ Thomson

The Beginning of Particle Physics




What is CERN?

About CERN\'s Name from the Web

  • As an outsider, you may refer to us as "CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics near Geneva", but for legal reasons we will always communicate with you as the "European Organization for Nuclear Research".
  • CERN staff must use the official name in all CERN published materials.
  • CERN does pure scientific research into the laws of nature. We are not involved with nuclear weapons.

What is CERN?

The CERN convention states:

The Organization shall provide for collaboration among European States in nuclear research of a pure scientific and fundamental character, and in research essentially related thereto. The Organization shall have no concern with work for military requirements and the results of its experimental and theoretical work shall be published or otherwise made generally available.


De Broglie 1949

A Laboratory for the World


The 20 Member States

Observers: UNESCO, EU, Israel, Turkey, USA, Japan, Russia


A superconductive disk on the bottom, cooled by liquid nitrogen, causes the magnet above to levitate. The floating magnet induces a current, and therefore a magnetic field, in the superconductor, and the two magnetic fields repel to levitate the magnet.



Compact Muon Solenoid

Hadronic Calorimeter (HCAL)

The brass used for the endcap HCAL comes from recuperated artillery shells from Russian warships

Solenoid Magnet

The CMS magnet will be the largest solenoid ever built

Data Acquisition

The data rate handled by the CMS event builder (~500 Gbit/s) is equivalent to the amount of data currently exchanged by the world\'s Telecom networks

Electromagnetic Calorimeter (ECAL)

The lead tungstate crystals forming the ECAL are 98% metal (by mass) but are completely transparent


The DataGrid Project

"DataGrid" is a project funded by European Union. The objective is to enable next generation scientific exploration which requires intensive computation and analysis of shared large-scale databases, from hundreds of TeraBytes to PetaBytes, across widely distributed scientific communities.

The EU-DataGrid initiative is led by CERN


The World Wide Web

1990:Tim Berners-Lee, a CERN computer scientist invented the World Wide Web.

The "Web" as it is affectionately called, was originally conceived and developed for the large high-energy physics collaborations which have a demand for instantaneous information sharing between physicists working in different universities and institutes all over the world. Now it has millions of academic and commercial users.



Tim together with Robert Cailliau, another CERN computer scientist, wrote the first WWW client (a browser-editor running under NeXTStep) and the first WWW server along with most of the communications software, defining URLs, HTTP and HTML.

In December 1993 WWW Tim received the IMA award and in 1995 Tim and Robert shared the Association for Computing (ACM) Software System Award for developing the World-Wide Web.


For more information on the CERN HST Programme