CERN: The Heart of the Matter - Inside the world's largest particle accelerator
Live at CERN People Ideas Tools


Aerial View of CERN French Swiss Border in Red Underground Tunnels in White
CERN is multinational: Its accelerators span borders; its scientists hail from many countries
CERN map CERN map
CERN map France Switzerland
Image Credit: CERN More of CERN map
360 degree view of CERN Slideshow Links

CERN (The European Center for Nuclear Research) is the world's largest particle physics research center. Here, scientists use giant machines -- particle accelerators and detectors -- to study the smallest objects in the universe. CERN's large accelerator rings reside 100 meters (320 feet) underground, beneath vineyards and pastureland along the French/Swiss border. They are elegant and vital tools for researchers pursuing questions about the origins of matter and the universe.

Located just outside Geneva, CERN is its own sort of United Nations of the scientific world. There are 6500 scientists here from 80 countries, making CERN a marvel of international scientific cooperation. It also harbors its own distinct culture, evidenced by the bike racks, chalk boards and lab benches. Science is the common goal bringing these thousands of people together in a facility uniquely designed to accommodate them.

See a map of the CERN complex

The Heart of the Matter



© 2000 The Exploratorium