The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) is a research institution with the status of an international organisation, and its headquarters are located in Geneva, Switzerland. CERN was founded in 1954 and today it has 22 member states. Additionally, many countries participate in CERN’s work through various cooperation agreements. CERN’s research mainly focuses on high-energy physics and developing the technology (including information technology) that it requires. CERN is also training graduates, students and researchers. There are more than 3 000 people working at CERN, the data obtained from experiments is used by more than 12 000 researchers, and CERN hosts more than 100 000 visitors every year.
CERN is home to the largest and most elaborate scientific equipment (accelerators and detectors), including the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is one of the most expensive manmade installations. The data that is collected in experiments on particles and their connections is researched in various research centres across the world. While CERN is famous for its experiments and scientific research, a part of CERN’s work is also practical, aiming to create new technologies and materials that are required for building equipment. As a result, CERN has been the birthplace of many solutions that are widely used today, including touchscreens and the World Wide Web.
Estonia has been taking part in CERN’s work since 1996 based on a bilateral cooperation agreement. Estonian researchers are participating in various projects of CERN, and in addition to scientists and students, the physics teachers of Estonian schools have also actively used the additional training opportunities offered by the organisation. Estonia has applied for a full membership of CERN.