CERN: Open Day 2013, day 1

The initial impact with CERN was a disorienting moment, so many buildings, streets, avenues… we would be lost without a map.

Looking at Google Earth, the campus is 1.5 km long and 500 meters wide, a lot of places to visit!
One nice thing is the name of the streets: all dedicated to distinguished scientists.

We start at building C1, not just in front of the entrance, but interesting because it takes them an introduction to CERN in about 30 minutes.

Unexpected was the discovery that CERN is not only for nuclear physics research, but also it excel in engineering research of new machines for internal use and civil, among them the development of accelerators for medical use.

After this breaf introduction, we head to the exhibit on detector technology. In this series of buildings, with various exhibits illustrate the techniques adopted by current particle detectors, and the future ones. Among other things, I realized that the SPS is used not only to feed the LHC, but it is used for experiments itself.

Credits CERN

Another building, other activities: the computer center!

Tour with a guide to one of the data rooms . Noisy but orderly, with these long rows of storage systems ( they store up to 15 PetaByte each year! ) and servers.
Not a strand out of place! More details at

When the data is getting old, the move them from the NAS to this robotic unit, which can hold up to 20,000 cassettes.

We cross the road (and back on Switzerland, here runs the French-Swiss border ) and enter into the house of LINAC4 the new linear accelerator ( details ) . If you can see the pieces still to mount and access the tunnel where it will be installed 12 meters underground.

Quick lunch at a nearby restaurant ( one of several on campus ) and then it’s time to travel to Prevessin by the internal shuttle

To be continued

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