Last week Yanhao and myself had the honour of being able to visit the CERN facilities in Geneva, Switzerland. It cern-tainly wasn’t just an excuse to go eat lots of fondue. Or make
terrible amazing puns.
On a serious note, I was genuinely inspired from having been to visit CERN. Despite not being able to physically see the Large Hadron Collider up-close due to various radiation-related risks and hazards, it was definitely an experience that I will cherish. Seeing the calibre and quality of work scientists perform there has made me fairly cern-tain about what sort of work I wish to do in future after I leave university. Speaking of which, I should probably be working on my UCAS… But I just couldn’t bear to let you guys down. No problem.
CERN is a scientific research organisation that aims to understand the fundamental structure of our universe by using huge, circular, underground particle accelerators. It was established in 1954, and contains 22 member states from all over Europe. It is based in Geneva, but the main particle accelerator spans into France, with an impressive 27 km circumference. This particle accelerator, called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), is not only the largest and most powerful particle collider in the world, but is the largest single machine, and is the most complex experimental facility ever built. With collaboration from over 10,000 scientists and engineers from over 100 countries, this gargantuan feat really demonstrates the power of collective scientific curiosity. It is the pinnacle of scientific technology, with cutting-edge advancements made in both cryogenics and magnetism, all added bonuses to the final product.
Another achievement that I find incredible is the ability of the LHC to generate extreme temperatures. One of the reasons the collider is buried so far underground is due to the immense hot temperatures it can reach, at almost 100,000 times the temperature of the centre of the Sun. This is required to simulate conditions at the beginning of the Universe after the Big Bang. The LHC also produces mind-blowingly low temperatures. In fact, the temperatures required to operate the superconductors are lower than the coldest temperatures in outer space, at a measly 1.9K.
Next week I will hopefully be looking at the type of research they are conducting at CERN, which includes work on dark matter, dark energy, and the Higgs Boson.