CERN is a laboratory where scientists unite to study the building blocks of matter and the forces that hold them together. It was founded in 1954 and since that has become a prime example of international collaboration, with currently 20 Member States. It sits astride the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva.
CERN is the world's largest centre for research in particle phisics, with several interlinked accelerators that provide many kinds of particle for many different experiments.
Physicists at CERN explore matter using machines called particle accelerators. These accelerate beams of particles and smash them into each other, or into other targets, to create high energy conditions similar to those in the first instants of this Universe.
Aside of its main tasks CERN was home of different scientific discoveries: the World Wide Web was invented there to help particle phisicists around the world to communicate. Now CERN is leading work to create a "computing Grid" that will harness vast amounts of computer power through networks across the world.
Engineering for CERN especially in cryogenics, superconductivity, vacuum, microelectronics and civil engineering, gives companies experience that they can apply elsewhere.
Particle detectors invented at CERN are used in techniques for medical diagnosis.
CERN can be visited by prior arrangement. The guided visit is free of charge, takes about 2 hours. It is provided for different language groiup, eg. English or French