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CERN and its Machines

The Laboratory's tools, particle accelerators and detectors, are amongst the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments. Built at the leading edge of technology, they are some of the finest monuments of 20th century science. Nobel prizes have been awarded to CERN physicists for developments in both.

Accelerators serve to crash particles into each other or into stationary targets. This produces new particles as matter turns into energy and back again following Einstein's famous equation, E=mc2, and it allows physicists to unravel the fundamental forces of nature that are ultimately responsible for the behaviour of all matter.

How the LHC will look when installed in the existing LEP tunnel.

CERN's principal accelerator from 1989 to 2000 has been the Large Electron-Positron collider, LEP, the world's largest scientific instrument. It will be replaced, in 2005 with a more powerful machine, called the Large Hadron Collider, LHC, which will be installed in the same tunnel.

Physicists are dwarfed by the sheer size of this particle detector.

Schematic of the CMS detector.

CERN's detectors are big. While the physicists are dwarfed by ALEPH, one of the LEP-era detectors, the sheer size of the LHC detectors, like CMS shown here, ushers physics and engineering into a new era of completely new challenges.

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