An Underground Atlas in Geneva

atom at cern
Colliding atoms over men

Have you ever seen a supercollider up close and personal? Do you even know what one is? Today I deep inside the Swiss countryside, face-to-face with ATLAS, what soon will be the world’s largest proton supercollider. Or black hole creator if the swarms of particle physicists get their math wrong.

And right about now, fighting back jetlag while listening to George, our gracious host, explain the difference between protons and muons, and how his giant muon spectrometer will measure the deflection of muons after they pass through the Barrel Toroid, I’m in awe of the human mind.

Somehow, in the grey mush between our collective ears, we’re able not only to conceive the existence of “dark matter” and other universe-level mysteries, we’re actually able to build things like this Large Hadron Collider to smash beams of speeding, highly energetic protons together to explore them.

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