11 Facts About One Of The World’s Biggest Science Projects: CERN

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Experiments conducted at CERN are not only the greatest projects of physics, but probably the most important ones in the history of science. So, it’s not surprising to see how popular it is for the general public as well as scientists all around the world. This popularity, however, comes at a price: there are many rumors out there that are far from being true, and that need to be clarified a bit. So here's a list of 11 facts about CERN you probably didn't know.

1. Not all the facilities at CERN are underground.

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Buildings in which the staff spend the most time, like offices, control centers or meeting halls, are above the ground.

2. Retina scanning is used to open the doors to facilities.

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It’s true that the staff has to scan their retinas when entering the testing areas, but the scanning is not done with lasers as it was told in Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons. No matter how influential this book was for the publicity of CERN, that fact needs to be checked.

3. Large Hadron Collider (LHC) is the biggest machine in the world.

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300 TB of acquired data is open to the public now.

4. Contrary to common belief, LHC does not harm the environment by releasing radiation.

LHC being underground has nothing to do with the environment getting harmed by the activity going on there. It was built underground because cosmic rays shouldn’t affect the experiments so that the results would be more reliable.

5. There are 9600 super magnets at CERN.

The total gravitational force created by these magnets is 100,000 times bigger than the Earth’s. Thanks to this huge force, proton beams are able to circuit for hours. During these hours of circuits, they can travel up to 10 million km.

6. “The God Particle” is not really a godlike particle.

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The original name is the Higgs Boson, but it's widely regarded as “the God particle,” especially by the media. That is because Leon Lederman intended to name his book “the Goddamn Particle” at first, since he thought it would be a good name considering its “villainous nature and the expense it is causing,” but the publisher didn’t let him, so he called it “the God Particle” instead. It was more of a nickname rather than implying anything divine, so to say.

7. Protons at CERN can circuit 11,245 times per second.

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While circuiting, they come very close to the speed of light. They travel up to 27 km during these circuits.

8. The temperature at CERN can get extremely high.

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It's known that the temperature gets almost high as the center of the sun during the process of proton acceleration.

9. In order to protect the machinery from this excessive heat, gigantic coolers are used.

These coolers make LHC the coldest place on Earth, even colder than outer space, sometimes.

10. CERN has 22 member countries.

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A few of which are the United Kingdom, Finland, France, Slovakia and Israel. Also, 4 countries have “associate member” status: Cyprus, Pakistan, Serbia and Turkey.

11. And lastly, let’s make a list of the main questions trying to be answered by the scientists at CERN:

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  • What is the origin of mass?

  • Does supersymmetry really exist?

  • What are dark matter and dark energy?

  • Why isn’t there equal amount of matter and anti-matter?

Let’s wait and see what sort of answers will come from CERN in the following years... No doubt they have the potential to change the course of history as well as science.

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