Research infrastructure

Physics and engineering sciences

Research infrastructure

Physics and engineering sciences


Accelerator facility in Switzerland, mainly performing research in the field of particle physics. Sweden is contributing to three experiments and one computational infrastructure at CERN: ATLAS, ALICE, ISOLDE and WLCG.

CERN (Organisation Européenne pour la Recherche Nucléaire – European Organization for Nuclear Research) is a convention-bound organisation operating the world’s largest particle physics laboratory outside Geneva, on the border between Switzerland and France. Sweden was one of the tw elve founding countries when the organisation was established in 1954; CERN was thus the first major international research infrastructure.

Today, CERN has 23 member states, primarily from Europe, but the facility is used by researchers from around the world. CERN is governed by a council consisting of representatives from the member countries. According to the convention, CERN’s council also has a mandate to develop the strategy for European particle physics.

At CERN, accelerator and detector development is also conducted in addition to particle physics research. Research within nuclear physics, medical technology, material physics and e-science is also carried out on a minor scale. The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) accelerator and the LHC experiments are the highest priority projects at CERN, with an upgrade of LHC to High Luminosity LCH planned for the early 2020s. Particle physicists from all over the world work with the experiments at LHC, Sweden participates as a full member in and conducts research at two of these: ATLAS and ALICE. Swedish researchers also contribute within LHCb.

In addition to the experiments at LHC, other activities are conducted at CERN, including several where Swedish researchers participate.

The ISOLDE facility at CERN delivers radioactive beams for research within fundamental nuclear physics and areas such as nuclear astrophysics, studies of weak interaction and condensed matter physics. By tradition, ISOLDE has had a strong Scandinavian profile, and Sweden has been participating since the start.

WLCG (Worldwide LHC Computing Grid) is a distributed computational infrastructure, supplying production and analysis environments for the experiments at LHC. WLCG is governed through global cooperation between the experiments and the participating computing centres, which today number more than 170 in 42 countries, and which process, analyse and store data produced in LHC. The Swedish contribution is managed by NAISS.