CERN are the international scientific research organization that operate the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), humanity’s biggest and most advanced physics experiment. The colliders, encased in 17 miles of tunnels buried 600 feet below the surface of Switzerland and France, aim to simulate conditions in the universe milliseconds following the Big Bang. This allows physicists to search for elusive theoretical particles, such as the Higgs boson, which could give us unprecedented insight into the composition of the universe.
CERN’s projects, such as the LHC, would not be possible if it weren’t for the Internet and Big Data – in fact, the Internet was originally created at CERN in the 1990s. Tim Berners-Lee, the man often referred to as the “father of the Internet”, developed the hypertext protocol which holds together the World Wide Web while at CERN. Its original purpose was to facilitate communication between researchers around the globe.
The LHC alone generates around 30 petabytes of information per year – 15 trillion pages of printed text, enough to fill 600 million filling cabinets – clearly Big Data by anyone’s standards!
In 2013, CERN announced that the Higgs boson had been found. Many scientists have taken this as proof that the standard model of particle physics is correct. This confirms that much of what we think we know about the workings of the universe on a subatomic level is essentially right, although ...