@CERN

A unique emotion to visit a place where humanity has been able to set aside its rivalries for the advancement of knowledge and Science, the Centre Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, or CERN.

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Entrance of the Centre

There’s no point in describing what is CERN, you probably have read about it multiple times: a 27-km ring where particles are accelerated to within a sliver of the speed of light (99.99991%) and then bashed together head-on to see what happens.

That’s the first challenge: even with the best efforts of concentrating the two colliding proton beams, the chance of a collision is still pretty low. So focusing the beam (and accelerating it) are the two paramount challenges of CERN.

In tackling this challenge they had to create a place of extremes. CERN is the coldest place in the Universe, achieving temperatures of 1.9°K (-271.45 °C) to run the superconducting magnets immersed in liquid helium which can focus and accelerate the proton beams.To put things in perspective, the background radiation of the Universe is 3 °K.

To minimize the probability of the beams scattering in the 27 kilometers rings, they also had to empty said rings to a degree unseen again anywhere in the Universe, that is 10^-13 atmospheres.

Colder and emptier than any place in deep space, and it’s here, 15 minutes by tram from the city centre of Geneva.

How awesome is humanity?

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