Europe’s foremost particle-physics laboratory, CERN was established near Geneva in 1954 to stop the brain drain to the US that had begun during the Second World War, and to provide a force for unity in post-war Europe. Alongside technological innovations such as the World Wide Web, its contributions to fundamental science include the discovery of the W and Z bosons, the determination of the number of light neutrino families and the discovery of direct CP violation. CERN’s Large Hadron Collider – the highest energy machine in the world – is in the middle of a programme of exploration that has already yielded the discovery of the Higgs boson.



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