Friday, May 23, 2014

CERN Tour: The CMS Cavern and Detector

CERN, home of the Large Hadron Collider. Many only know of it because of Tom Hanks and "Angels and Demons," but it's oh so much more than that. They've been in the news a lot these last couple of years, from hitting record breaking energy levels during collisions of protons, black hole research, and the discovery of the Higgs Boson on July 4, 2012 (Higgsdependence Day, as we like to call it). It's also where Dan works as a high energy particle physicist, which is pretty awesome. 

{The View}

{Assembly Hall, where they literally assembled the detector}

{The control room}

{The elevator that takes you underground to the CMS Cavern}

{Papa teaching Oswin all about the control room} 

Oh, and I almost forgot. You know that thing that our lives pretty much revolve around, that thing called the internet? Well, it was created at CERN. So, yeah. Thank you CERN, because without you I would have no blog, pinterest or instagram, and that would make me very very very sad. 

CERN has been a big part of our lives since moving abroad 4 1/2 years ago, and not just because Dan works there on the CMS Experiment. We've met a lot of friends through the expat community, have often used it as a meeting place or take off point for adventures, I took french classes there for a bit, and during Oswin's birth I stared out the window at CERN, because I had a clear view of The Globe out of the delivery room window. To say we're a bit entrenched is an understatement. 

Well, today I leveled up my CERN cred with an amazing and unique opportunity - a tour of the CMS cavern and detector! What does that mean exactly? It means taking a silver elevator underground 100 meters to find this massive and actually very beautiful piece of finely tuned scientific equipment...that happens to also cost tens of billions of dollars/CHF/euros. 

The CMS detector is 6 stories (or 15 meters) high, and is pretty much one of the coolest things I've ever seen. The power that can be generated by this machine is unbelievable, and it can help physicists tell us so much about our universe and how it began.

Thinking of scheduling a tour of CERN and the caverns? My suggestion is to act fast, because there is typically a wait list of about 6 months to get on a tour. In addition to that, they're not currently taking data, which means that the caverns are open for those on the tour. This will change when the collider turns back on, which I've been told should be October, when the caverns will no longer be open to tour groups. So get in there and get your science on! 

Oh and if you're in our SwitzerFrench area, CERN Open Days are coming up! Check it out!

A la prochaine friends...


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