Founded in 1954, the CERN laboratory (European Center for Nuclear Research) sits astride the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe's first joint ventures and now has 21 member states.
At CERN, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. They use the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter – the fundamental particles. The particles are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives the physicists clues about how the particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature.