How to visit Cern – explore the laboratory in Switzerland that uncovers the universe’s secrets

Take a trip to Geneva to find out more about Cern and how it's investigating the birth of our universe, or tour the site and its particle accelerators using Google Street View.

Cern, the European Organization for Nuclear Research (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire in French) is the world leader in investigating the particles that make up our universe.

The laboratory, based in Geneva, Switzerland, is often in the headlines for the incredible scientific advances that occur on the premises such as the discovery of the God particle, also known as the Higgs boson.

You can visit the lab, free of charge, with a guided tour; Cern runs these in English and French. Alternatively, you can visit exhibitions at the laboratory.

If you can't make it to Switzerland, you can now enjoy a virtual visit, where you use the power of Google Street View to see the incredible site.

[Read more: Nasa spacecraft takes farthest ever image from Earth]

Explore Cern with Google

cern atlas

Google has partnered with Cern to let curious people explore the campus.

Start your journey at the Globe of Science and Innovation - Cern's iconic visitor centre - at the body's Meyrin site.

Then see inside the research buildings to view the famous Atlas Experiment, which uses the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator to study head-on collisions of protons to learn about the basic forces that have shaped the universe since the beginning of time.

Then, head into the control centre to see the staff hard at work. Wherever you go at Cern, remember to click all around the screen to see what's going on in with the technology in these underground caverns.

The proton synchrotron, a key accelerator at the site, can also be viewed on Google Maps - you can click around the gigantic piece of kit which has a circumference of 628 metres.

Go to Cern on a guided tour

Cern offers free guided tours for schools, groups and individuals; more details of guided tours can be found on its website.

The tours are conducted in either English or French and last approximately three hours.

Exhibitions at Cern

There are two permanent exhibitions at Cern – The Universe of Particles and Microcosm.

The Universe of Particles dives into the world of particles and allows visitors to learn some of the questions that Cern are trying to answer.

Microcosm goes through Cern’s key devices and installations, introduces visitors to some of the people involved and explains what's happening at the Large Hadron Collider.

[Read more: Find out more about Cern]