CERN

sights / Other

Lonely Planet review

Founded in 1954, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, 8km west of Geneva near Meyrin, is a laboratory for research into particle physics. It accelerates electrons and positrons down a 27km circular tube (the Large Hadron Collider, the world's biggest machine) and the resulting collisions create new forms of matter.

Two fascinating permanent exhibitions shed light on the ground-breaking work done by the centre: The dazzling Universe of Particles , housed inside a 27m-tall and 40m- diameter globe intended to symbolise planet Earth, is a dazzling interactive voyage into the enigmatic world of particles. Microcosm likewise uses multimedia to help visitors understand through games, experiments and hands-on workshops just how accelerators recreate the Big Bang among other things.

Those keen to delve deeper can sign up for a two- to three-hour guided tour of the laboratory. Tours start in the Universe of Particles and include a short introduction to CERN's work, a film and a visit to one of the experiments or an accelerator. Book tours at least one month in advance by filling out the form online and bring your ID or passport the day of your visit.

From the train station take tram 18 to its terminus in front of CERN (Sfr3, 40 minutes).