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How To 

How to Visit CERN

Of all the research institutes in the world, CERN just might have the biggest international reputation. It serves as a testament to what happens when countries come together to advance science. Spanning between the borders of France and Switzerland is the Large Hadron Collider, a state-of-the-art particle accelerator run by CERN that has been the site of such famous experiments as those that showed us the “God particle.” It’s an incredible place and an exhilarating feeling to know you’re surrounded by cutting edge science, so if you’re anxious to experience such a feeling, here’s how to visit CERN:

1. Head to Geneva, Switzerland and find The Globe of Science and Innovation.
CERN headquarters are located in Geneva, and the place to go is the Globe of Science and Innovation. It’s an unmistakable landmark that stands as a symbol of science and a first greeting for visitors. Inside the Globe, you’ll find a gift shop, reception area, and a couple of permanent exhibits.

2. Book a guided tour.
To get the full CERN experience, you want to take a guided tour. Depending on how many people you’re going with and if you’re with a school group or not, you’ll have different booking options. Each requires that you message booking directly for details, but you’ll notice on the website that some tours can be scheduled as little as 3 days in advance, while others require 9 months. Make sure you plan ahead! And keep in mind that CERN receives more tour requests than it can accomodate, so you may also have to be patient and flexible.

3. Check out the permanent exhibits.
If you can’t get a guided tour or have to wait, the permanent exhibits in the Globe are well worth visiting. One is the Universe of Particles exhibit, which allows visitors to explore the mission of CERN and the Large Hadron Collider through the lens of modern physics. The other is Microcosm, which gives you a detailed account of exactly what CERN does and how it does it. Both are free, and both will give you a taste of the CERN experience.