European Organization for Nuclear Research


For the 2012 European Researchers Night, CERN is opening its doors to the control rooms of the LHC accelerator and experiments (ALICE, ATLAS, CMS, LHCb et TOTEM).

The LHC is an underground ring, 27 km in circumference, which generates collisions between particles (tiny pieces of matter) at unprecedented energies.

Four gigantic experiments – and three smaller ones – are installed around the ring to observe these collisions and help advance fundamental knowledge of matter and the Universe. The LHC and its experiments are among the most complex research tools ever constructed.

The control rooms are the nerve centres of these sophisticated machines, and scientists work there around the clock to keep the machines running.

CERN Control Centre

The CERN Control Centre

All of CERN's accelerators, including the biggest of them all, the LHC, are operated from this control centre and its dozens of monitors.

ALICE control room

ALICE (Sergy)

The aim of the ALICE experiment is to improve our understanding of matter in the first instants of the Universe, 13.7 billion years ago.


ATLAS (Meyrin)

ATLAS is the largest detector at the LHC, a general-purpose experiment that seeks to observe new physics phenomena such as the famous Higgs boson.


CMS and TOTEM (Cessy)

CMS is the LHC's heaviest detector, another general-purpose experiment, designed to analyse particle collisions at hitherto unexplored energies.

Installed on either side of CMS, TOTEM is a specialist experiment designed to observe specific phenomena.

LHCb control room

LHCb (Ferney-Voltaire)

LHCb is dedicated to the study of antimatter among other things. One of its aims, for example, is to understand why antimatter (a sort of "mirror-image" particle") disappeared from the Universe, leaving normal matter behind.

"Physique Impro Show": Fun with science

You will have the opportunity to watch an improvisational theatre performance starting at 8.30pm in CERN's Globe of Science and Innovation. The "lesArts" theatre company will be putting on a light-hearted show about physics, free of charge and in French, called "Physique Impro Show, s'amuser avec la science Show".

If you have signed up to acccompany a participant in the European Researchers' Night, a seat will be automatically reserved for you.

All other members of the public must make their own reservation (compulsory). Places are limited. Call us on +41 22 767 76 76 to book your seat.