CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) is the world’s largest particle physics laboratory. It is situated in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco–Swiss border. It was established in 1954. The organization comprises of 20 European member states and employs 2600 full time employees, and 7931 scientists and engineers, who represent 580 universities and research facilities and 80 nationalities.
The main objective of CERN’s establishment was to provide particle accelerators and other infrastructure for high-energy physics research. It is also famous for inventing the World Wide Web (also called WWW or Web).
Several important scientific achievements have been made by the staff at CERN. Some researchers at CERN have also been awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in Physics for their important contributions to the field of physics.
CERN currently operates a network of six particle accelerators and a decelerator. Generally each machine in the chain increases the energy of particle beams before delivering them to experiments or to the next more powerful accelerator.
Important developments at the CERN in recent times include the completion of the Large Hadron Collider. Most activities are directed in designing of experiments for the Large Hadron Collider. The Large Hadron Collider is the world’s largest particle accelerator situated 100 meters below the region between the Geneva airport and the nearby Jura Mountains. It uses a 27 km circumference circular tunnel. The LHC is designed to investigate the conditions immediately after the Big Bang – the moment of creation – and the fundamental components of matter. On August 2008, when the first particle beams were injected into the LHC, it received much attention from the media. Because of a faulty magnet connection and it was stopped for repairs on 19 September 2008. On 20 November 2009, LHC resumed its operations.
By financing 19.88% of the CERN’s budget, Germany was the biggest contributor of CERN’s finances. Next on the list are France and the UK.
To educate the public on what the CERN is up to, CERN also holds exhibitions at its facilities. The Globe of Science and Innovation and Microcosm museum on particle physics and CERN history are two such facilities.
CERN has also been mentioned in several works of fiction including novels such as Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons.
The experiments and papers produced by researchers and scientists at CERN have made a significant impact on the development of science and technology. Besides development in physics they have produced numerous other useful innovations- the World Wide Web, created by Tim Berners Lee at CERN, through which you got to this article, is one such example.