What is Cern? The laboratory where the structure of the universe is probed

Based in Geneva, Cern is often in the headlines for its incredible advances in scientific knowledge.

Cern is the European Organisation for Nuclear Research and is the world leader in studying the basic matter of the universe.

Founded in 1954 and based in Switzerland, the technology at Cern allows the scientists, academics and researchers based there to study fundamental matters – the stuff that makes up the universe.

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What does Cern stand for?

Cern is an acronym for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, which translates to the European Council for Nuclear Research.

Cern and the world wide web

Cern was the birth place of the world wide web. In 1989 Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist, developed it to help information sharing between academics and universities.

You can even still see the world wide web’s first website by clicking on this link: http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

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What equipment does Cern use?

To find out more about the particles, the staff at Cern make the particles collide together at extremely high speeds – close to the speed of light.

In order to do this, there are particle accelerators and detectors to create the environment and record the results. The most well known accelerator is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC).  

The LHC has discovered new types of particles including Pentaquarks, a particle made up of five quarks and the fabled Higgs boson – the “God particle”.

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How is Cern funded? 

Cern's 21 member states each pay a contribution towards Cern's activities. It's incredibly expensive to run with the 2013 Cern budget coming in at 1,240 million Swiss francs (£953m). 


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