CERN: The Heart of the Matter - Inside the world's largest particle accelerator
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Door to Antiproton Decelerator Control Room
The door to the control room of the Antiproton Decelerator.
Control Rooms

A vast network of computers controls everything at CERN,from the accelerators and detectors themselves to the safety and maintenance systems.

These watchful computers reside in two main control rooms, where operators monitor every machine using special television monitors called "vistars". One control room oversees the Super Proton Synchrotron and the Large Electron Positron collider (which will become the LHC), while the other monitors the linear accelerators, booster, Proton Synchrotron, and Antiproton Decelerator. Each machine also has its own, separate, control room, where technicians perform the initial set up, startup, and maintenance.

Inside the AD control room
Inside the AD control room, banks of equipment monitor the conditions in the decelerator.
Control room operators make sure the accelerator is running as efficiently as possible. They monitor the beam density, speed, and position, adjust the focusing magnets and bending magnets, and make sure the vacuum systems aren’t leaking and the radiation valves are securely closed.

Proton Synchotron
Keeping watch in the control room of the Proton Synchotron.
photo: CERN
Above all else, the operators deliver particles to the experimenters. Accomplishing this tall order requires some 1,100 people, about 35 percent of CERN’s total staff.


The Heart of the Matter



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