Tuesday, March 08, 2005

A very big hole in the ground


Wow. That is one big hole. Clicking the photo takes you to a very much larger version (beware modem users). The website has more cool photos.

This gargantuan room is only a tiny part of the unimaginably large and complicated CERN installation underneath a part of Switzerland.

It’s not part of World War IV though, I promise you. In fact this room links to a big (understatement of the year!) underground ring through which lots of machinery curves. The ring and the caverns and the machines and the scientists all make up a scientific institute whose aim is to fly loads of particles really really fast around the ring, in the hope of doing complicated physics–type stuff. The 27–kilometre ring is the largest scientific instrument ever created.

From their website:

CERN is the European Organization for Nuclear Research, the world’s largest particle physics centre. Here physicists come to explore what matter is made of and what forces hold it together.

CERN exists primarily to provide them with the necessary tools. These are accelerators — which accelerate particles to almost the speed of light — and detectors, to make the particles visible.

So, there you are. More explanations here, and here. But really, the photo was just amazing. I hated physics at school, though.

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