What is CERN?

Here’s another great video from Sixty Symbols featuring professor Ed Copeland giving his entertaining description of CERN, the “Mecca for physicists” and home of the famous Large Hadron Collider. (Hopefully it will tide you over until the latest news is presented on July 4 regarding the ongoing hunt for the ever-elusive Higgs field!) Enjoy.

“On each of these experiments there are something like 3,000 physicists involved. So they’re not all here at the same time, of course… the cafeteria would be a nightmare if that was the case.”

– Prof. Ed Copeland


15 Replies to “What is CERN?”

      1. Agreed! Somewhere in either Ian Sample’s “Massive” or Don Lincoln’s “The Quantum Frontier, The Large Hadron Collider.” mention is made that broken English is the official language at CERN. If you have ever heard a regional Glaswegian accent you may empathize with Bill’s comment.

  1. CERN, is European venture here NOT an America one. Jason’s article centrally fails to mention this – confusion from the American logical view which links between “CERN” and “4th July.” I wouldn’t like to draw the long bow, but one could easily interpret deliberate bias by the author to link of the possible discovery of the Higgs boson to some incorrect (deliberate) understanding that it is some American discovery. It is not.

    As for the seemingly biased video… well just by showing the apparent disrepair of the CERN buildings is notable just a pro-American or pro-British slight aimed solely to denigrate the European announcement of the discovery of the Higgs boson?

    I do question the veracity of the UT source of this article and it probably unsaid alliterative motives in what it centrally portrays. (Annoying!) In my view, it reflects significantly on the presented text we read here, diminishing somewhat the objectivity of the author and his journalism – especially when he usually is quite accurate, insightful and mostly unbiased. Pity.

    1. You are finding bias and national preference where there is none. CERN is an international venture, and that’s the beauty of it. The video states that (if you watch it fully) and nowhere in the article does it attempt to claim otherwise.

      1. What an odd reply. I was extremely careful with my response here – spending much time in thought before posting. Mostly I refer is the general perception *, and not that you were deliberately biassed.

        CERN is the “European Organisation for Nuclear Research.” According to their site;

        “The name is derived from the acronym for the French Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, or European Council for Nuclear Research, a provisional body founded in 1952 with the mandate of establishing a world-class fundamental physics research organization in Europe. At that time, pure physics research concentrated on understanding the inside of the atom, hence the word ‘nuclear’.When the Organization officially came into being in 1954, the Council was dissolved, and the new organization was given the title European Organization for Nuclear Research, although the name CERN was retained.
        Today, our understanding of matter goes much deeper than the nucleus, and CERN’s main area of research is particle physics — the study of the fundamental constituents of matter and the forces acting between them. Because of this, the laboratory operated by CERN is commonly referred to as the European Laboratory for Particle Physics.”

        Europeans are, and continue to be, very proud of their scientific achievements, but I feel reading your article here that it leaves the sense of diminishing this. “Universe Today” should really be written in mind with such ‘universality’ catering and acknowledging global science, and yet, promoting institutions beyond the normal parochial views of nationalism. In this case, you should really better explain about CERN and the where, when and how. Any newcomer not knowing anything about the subject could easily be confused. Sure it might be an “international venture”, but it is mostly a European venture (as stated at http://public.web.cern.ch/public/en/About/Global-en.html ) The US in this case is among ‘Observe States’ – allowing input to the decision making, even though they are not actually funded by them. They are not however not ‘Member States.’ Hence, your appraisal of an ‘international venture’ is not quite accurate.

        * Admittedly, perhaps I’ve have been overly sensitive here, but the error, for example, of the misspelt naming of the place where the recent aurora story occurred by Nancy (that has remained unfixed for many days) or the continuing story Chinese recent space mission, leave the impression that international readers of Universe Today are either marginalised or discounted.

        That’s honestly as I see it. Disagree if you must.

      2. It seems to me (just my perception) as if you are on the hunt for sins of omission. This admittedly brief post is merely meant to highlight a video, not be an authoritative description of all things CERN. I suggest enjoying it for what it is… not criticizing for what it isn’t.

      3. The U.S. has funded the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to the tune of $531 million in materials and services:


        It has been calculated this assistance expedited the LHC construction by three years. Without it we the public may have been waiting until July 4, 2015 for the a/m announcement.

      4. What a silly reply. The LHC is quite irrelevant regarding the story on CERN here.

      5. Jason Major’s article reads: “Here’s another great video from ‘sixty symbols’ featuring professor Ed Copeland giving his entertaining description of CERN, the ‘Mecca for physicists’ and home of the famous large hadron collider.

        Having viewed the video (correct me if wrong) Professor Copeland is at the LHC and the video exhibits construction of same.

  2. I don’t think the video could be more ‘European’ if it tried. Nowhere does it downplay the European contribution and makes it clear that it
    was originally a purely European venture but latterly plays host to people from virtually every country on the planet!

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