Visit to the large Hadron Collider, CERN, Switzerland

5th February 2018

Visit to the large Hadron Collider, CERN, Switzerland, Tuesday January 9th 2018

A group of 6th formers from Raines Foundation school visited the Geneva based organisation, CERN, to discover more about research into how matter, life and existence all came about.


The circumference of the particle accelerator is 27 km and operates for 100 days each year.

The highlight was a visit to the ATLAS building where, 100m below ground, the ATLAS detector collects an enormous amount of information from the dynamic collision of protons accelerated close to the speed of light.

Major advances in computing technology have allowed scientists to examine more and more data each year although it still takes the rest of the year to analyse the vast amount of data generated at ATLAS and the other detectors at CERN.

The ATLAS detector itself is 46 metres long, 25 metres in diameter, weighs about 7,000 tonnes and contains some 3000 km of cable.

The energy created in the accelerator recently led to the detection and identification of the Higgs -Boson particle, responsible for giving other particles mass.

It was truly surreal to share the dining room with the thousands of workers at CERN – astrophysicists, mathematicians and ICT specialists to name but a few, who come from over 70 different countries around the world.

Our students were in awe of the size of CERN and the importance of the work being done there. Having had such an insight into the workings of such a giant ‘laboratory’ it is hoped that their enthusiasm and motivation for their science studies will be enhanced.