What is CERN?

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, known as CERN, is a research organization that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. Physicists and engineers at CERN use the world’s largest scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter – fundamental particles. Subatomic particles are made to collide at close to the speed of light. The process gives us clues about how the particles interact and provide insights into the laws of nature. We want to advance the boundaries of human knowledge by delving into the smallest building blocks of our universe. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before the beams are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these high energy collisions. Founded in 1954, the CERN laboratory sits near the border of France and Switzerland border close to Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 22 member states.

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