Meyrin site, Point 1

Meyrin is the birthplace of CERN, the location of its main site since 1954. The Meyrin site has expanded over the years, spilling over the border into France, and now covers 80 hectares in the Swiss communes of Meyrin and Satigny and the French communes of Prévessin-Moëns and Saint-Genis-Pouilly. The Meyrin site is the only one of CERN’s sites that straddles the border. Most of the researchers and technical installations can be found here, along with almost all of the administrative services. Opposite the main site is the Globe of Science and Innovation, which hosts public events and exhibitions. Its neighbour, ATLAS, located at Point 1 of the LHC ring, is the largest LHC experiment.

Notable buildings

Globe of Science and Innovation: Designed by Genevan architects T. Büchi and H. Dessimoz for the Swiss national exhibition Expo.02, this building, which was then known as the Palais de L'Equilibre (palace of balance), was dedicated to the theme of sustainable development and welcomed 1.9 million visitors over the six months of the exhibition.  

In 2004, the Swiss Confederation gifted the building to CERN, which had proposed converting it into a venue for presenting science, technology and industry to the general public and for hosting debates and exchanges on innovative technologies in cooperation with private sector companies and public sector institutions.  

At 27 metres tall and 40 metres across, it’s about the same size as the Sistine Chapel in Rome.  The Globe is a landmark by day and by night, dominating the wine-growing countryside just outside Geneva. With its wooden structure symbolising sustainable development, the Globe conveys a clear message about science, particle physics and cutting-edge technologies and their applications in everyday life.

The Globe is home to the Universe of Particles exhibition.

Reception: Guided tours of CERN start in this building, which is located opposite the Globe. Dozens of people visiting for professional reasons also arrive at Reception every day. It houses a small souvenir shop where visitors can buy t-shirts, posters, books and other items.

The Microcosm exhibition is located behind the Reception area.

Main Building: The Management, certain administrative services, the Main Auditorium and the Council Chamber are all in this building. On the ground floor are a bank, a post office, a travel agency, a health insurance office, a newsagent and Restaurant 1, the largest of CERN’s three canteens.

Building 40: Built with funding from FIPOI (the Swiss foundation for buildings for international organisations) and inaugurated in 1996, this building contains more than 300 offices for physicists working on the Laboratory’s two largest experiments, ATLAS and CMS, as well as numerous meeting rooms and a snack bar.

The architect’s concept was to put the spotlight on the experiments that are carried out at CERN but can’t be seen. An enormous glass-walled cylinder at the centre of Building 40 represents the underground accelerators, the beating heart of CERN. The accelerator magnets are symbolised by four towers surrounding the cylinder. Light was also an important part of the overall design: it floods in through the roof of the cylinder, filling the centre of the building.

The Data Centre: Situated along the French-Swiss border, near Restaurant 2, CERN’s Data Centre was built in 1970. Having previously housed the mainframe, it is now the nerve centre of CERN’s IT needs for science, administration and infrastructure. Running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, it boasts 110 000 processing cores and 10 000 servers. It can store more than 130 petabytes (130 million gigabytes) of data – the equivalent of 700 years of high-definition films. It also houses one of Switzerland's primary IXPs (Internet exchange points), through which a large portion of regional Internet traffic passes.

Hotel: CERN has one of the largest hotels in Switzerland, with more than 500 beds. Physicists who come to CERN for a few days can stay here.

Open for visits

The Synchrocyclotron, the Data Centre, LEIR, the AD and the ATLAS Visitor Centre.
Please see the relevant page to arrange tours: Guided tours for non-school groups (min. 12 people) and Guided tours for schools.

"Passport to the Big Bang" stages nearby

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