CERN – Europe’s Particle Physics Laboratory
CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is an intergovernmental organization with 22 Member States. It is situated on the Franco-Swiss border, with headquarters in Geneva.
CERN is widely recognised as one of the world’s leading laboratories for particle physics. At CERN, physicists and engineers probe the fundamental structure of the universe. To do this, they use the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments - particle accelerators and detectors - to study the basic constituents of matter – the fundamental particles - and the forces that shape the universe.
Close to 13 000 scientists from research institutes all over the world use CERN’s facilities for their experiments. Research carried out at CERN has made major contributions to the field of particle physics. In 2012 two experiments at CERN - ATLAS and CMS - announced the discovery of the elusive Higgs boson, the until then missing piece in the Standard Model, which encapsulates our best understanding of the behaviour of all fundamental particles in the universe. This discovery underpins the 2013 Nobel Prize for Physics, awarded jointly to François Englert and Peter Higgs, for their theoretical work on the Standard Model.
While the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the flagship of CERN’s accelerator complex, and the results of the LHC experiments are often in the limelight (for example, with the discovery of the Higgs boson), CERN has a very diverse research programme, which covers a wide range of topics in physics, from the Standard Model to supersymmetry, from dark matter to cosmic rays. Thus, experiments at other accelerators and facilities both on-site and off are an equally important part of the laboratory’s activities. Supporting all the experiments is a very strong theory programme, which carries out cutting-edge research in theoretical particle physics.
Communications at CERN
Communicating CERN’s mission and achievements has been core to the Organization’s strategy for over a decade. The 2017-2020 Communications Strategy thus builds on over well-established and highly successful communication, education and outreach programmes at CERN, which have:
- contributed to CERN being recognised as not only a world-leading research laboratory in particle physics, but also a centre of excellence in science, engineering and computing, and an example of multinational collaboration;
- established CERN as one of the first ports of call for international media;
- confirmed CERN as a source of inspiration and learning for teachers and students;
- set CERN as part of popular culture, inspiring scientific curiosity amongst citizens across the globe;
- confirmed CERN as one of the best global models for scientific collaboration for peace.