CERN or European Organization for Nuclear Research, nuclear and particle physics research center straddling the French-Swiss border W of Geneva, Switzerland. Established in 1952 as the provisional European Center for Nuclear Research (the acronym CERN derives from this name in French) and founded formally as the Center's successor in 1954, the European Organization for Nuclear Research is an intergovernmental organization whose activities are sponsored by 20 European countries. CERN is the principal European center for research in particle physics. Its large electron-positron storage ring (the LEP collider) was inaugurated in 1989, upgraded in 1996, and closed in 2000. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) became operational in 2009, and in 2010 accelerated protons to nearly 3.5 trillion electron-volts (TeV), producing collisions at 7 TeV, a record. The LHC is not expected to reach its full potential (accelerating protons to 7 TeV) until after improvements are made; it was shut down in 2013 to make them. The World Wide Web, a system of internationally distributed, hypertext-linked materials on the Internet, was originally developed at CERN during the 1980s.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.