Exploring the universe at CERN

Updated 5:13 PM ET, Fri December 13, 2013
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Physicist Joe Incandela announced the discovery of the Higgs boson on July 4, 2012. The mosaic of photos of colleagues spells "CMS," which stands for Compact Muon Solenoid. CMS is one of the experiments at the Large Hadron Collider that detected the particle. BEN BRUMFIELD/CNN
The Large Hadron Collider is located at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, near Geneva, Switzerland. This is CERN's Globe of Science and Innovation, which hosts a small museum about particle physics inside. The ATLAS experiment, which also detected the Higgs boson, is housed underground nearby. Elizabeth Landau/CNN
The Higgs boson, the elusive particle that scientists had hoped to find for decades, helps explain why matter has mass. This is part of CMS, one one of the experiments that detected the particle. Ben Brumfield/CNN
The ATLAS experiment, seen here in 2011, is about two stories taller than CMS. The Higgs boson has been called the "God particle" because of a book by that title, but scientists hate the name. CERN
Much of three stories of electronics at CMS are involved in making split-second decisions about what data to keep and what to discard. This is one of those areas. Ben Brumfield/CNN
A technician works on the CMS experiment. Technicians are adding new cooling lines for CMS for a system that will be put in place in two or three years. Ben Brumfield/CNN
Joe Incandela, the spokesperson for CMS, says that about 4,000 scientists collaborate on the experiment. Behind him is a new red-colored layer to improve the detection of muons, which are fundamental particles Ben Brumfield/CNN
Physicists in the CMS control room. Although the particle accelerator is shut down until 2015, this is a busy time for everyone involved in upgrading the particle detectors and analyzing data from the first run of particle collisions. Ben Brumfield/CNN
The nearly 14,000 tons of machinery can all collapse together, or separate, when high-pressure air is pumped in. This is one of the pads to help slide it all around. Ben Brumfield/CNN
CMS has 76,000 lead-tungstate crystals that shatter electrons and photons, allowing scientists to observe particles such as the Higgs boson that exist for only an instant. Some of those crystals are in the endcap. Ben Brumfield/CNN
Evaldas Juska, an engineer, is working on computers involved with CMS. Ben Brumfield/CNN
CMS was constructed at ground level, then pieces of it were lowered through this hole in the cavern. Elizabeth Landau/CNN
This is the CERN Computing Center. Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web at CERN. Elizabeth Landau/CNN
One of the world's first web servers, a NeXT computer from 1991, is seen at CERN. The handwritten note indicates, "This machine is a server. DO NOT POWER DOWN!" On the right is an old Ethernet cable, which can handle only 10 Mb/second, and was largely replaced by the mid-'90s. Ben Brumfield/CNN
While they take their work seriously, that doesn't mean the scientists at CERN don't have a sense of humor. Here we see CERN's "Animal Shelter for Computer Mice," where used and unwanted computer mice have a place to call home. Ben Brumfield/CNN
CERN's Restaurant 1 has a water fountain with options such as "order," "chaos" and "self-destruct." CNN's Elizabeth Landau tasted all three and could not detect a difference. Elizabeth Landau/CNN
A sculpture garden featuring artwork made from pieces of old experiments decorates the grounds at CERN. Elizabeth Landau/CNN
A collection of empty relics from the celebrations of different milestones of the CMS experiment. Ben Brumfield/CNN
"Don't feed the physicists" marks a box of coins where CMS scientists deposit change to pay for coffee. Ben Brumfield/CNN