A stroll through CERN's underground spaces


Take a guided Street View tour of CERN's spaces normally hidden from view, from leading-edge particle colliders and detectors to its gleaming data centre, which stores unimaginable amounts of information from some of the largest machines on Earth.

First stop, The Globe of Innovation and Science.

Rivaling the dome of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome in size, this unique landmark is a symbol of Earth, and showcases CERN's work in science, particle physics, leading-edge tech and its everyday applications.

Now, let's go underground...

This is the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most powerful particle accelerator.

Its 27km ring of superconducting magnets is chilled to ‑271.3°C - colder than space.

Inside it, 2 high-energy particle beams travel and collide at close to the speed of light.

Over to the Proton Synchrotron.

This particle accelerator speeds up protons before feeding them to CERN experiments and colliders, like the Large Hadron Collider.

This machine aided the discovery of ‘neutral currents’, which are part of the weak interaction between sub-atomic particles.

The LHCb experiment is part of a collaboration between 1,200 scientists from 74 organisations in 16 countries.

Using its sophisticated detectors, they're studying the beauty quark (b quark) and the anti-b quark, to reveal subtle differences between matter and antimatter.

We're now next to the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS), a general-purpose detector in the Large Hadron Collider.

Scientists use it to study the smallest constituents of matter, including the Higgs boson, and search for new types of particles that could make up dark matter.

The ALICE experiment is a detector installed inside the LHC tunnel.

More than 1,800 scientists from 41 countries collaborate on the experiment, studying heavy ion collisions - exploring strongly interacting matter at extreme densities and temperatures over 100,000 times hotter than the Sun.

And this is the ALICE control room.

It's home to four operators, 19 detector experts and the Run Coordination team who control and monitor the ALICE detector sub-systems and the interface with the LHC accelerator, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Another view of ALICE.

For part of each year the LHC collides lead ions to recreate the conditions of the early universe, fractions of a second after the Big Bang.

CERN's control room is the nerve centre that runs the Large Hadron Collider, Super Proton Synchrotron, Proton Synchrotron Complex, Technical Infrastructure and Cryogenics.

Having all these consoles in one room allows continuous, open communication, ensuring optimum machine performance.

The ATLAS detector is one of the largest and most complex scientific instruments ever made.

Its specialised components were built at different locations around the world, tested and integrated with others, lowered 93 metres below ground into the cavern and assembled to complete the detector.

Over to another control room... The ATLAS control room - the brain of the ATLAS detector.

Each station has four monitors that create a large virtual screen. Data is visualized on vast wall screens using projectors, helping the control room team monitor the performance of the detector.

Our final stop is the Data Centre.

It's the beating heart of CERN’s technology and operations - the LHC alone produces more than 70 petabytes of data per year. These are stored here, before processing in a computing grid spread across 170 computing centres in 42 countries.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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