LHC Inauguration - LHC Exhibition


As of October 21st, the hall where 1935 superconducting magnets for the LHC have been tested at 1.9K in the past few years is the venue of a special exhibition to celebrate the completion of the accelerator.

All the technologies put together to make the LHC work are illustrated in a “grand format” and explained live from the twelve magnet test benches, the cryogenics, vacuum and RF installations. A 1 to 1 model of a portion of the accelerator tunnel houses a real dipole and quadrupole.


The accelerator exhibition will be kept in the Hall as a permanent destination for the CERN visiting public.

Only on October 21st, the exhibition will feature four "corners" devoted to the four major LHC experiments, displaying some of their most beautiful detector prototypes, alongside with their latest videos, pictures and event displays. A CERN's favourite, the GRID café, will complete the exhibits.


The Large Hadron Collider

The LHC Experiments




Step into the world of the LHC

This permanent exhibition profits from a unique setting, in the hall where 1935 LHC magnets were tested at low temperature and full magnetic field over 2001-2007 before being installed in the underground tunnel.

A set of newly made "grand format" (4m high!) banners lines the hall and guides you through the exhibition.

You will have the opportunity to walk around the 12 test benches and even to enter the LHC tunnel without going 100 m below ground! This is possible thanks to a full scale model (in width!) of the accelerator, housing a dipole and a quadrupole, on a length of 20 m. Live demonstrations will give you a better flavour of how superconductivity works.


All the components of the LHC magnets will be on display. The superconducting (1.9 K) dipoles which bend the beams around the 27 km circumference of the accelerator represented a tremendous technological challenge.

The niobium-titanium coils create the magnetic fields to guide the two counter-rotating proton beams in separate magnetic channels, but within the same physical structure. The coils are surrounded by non-magnetic "collars" of austenitic steel, a material that combines the required properties of good thermal contraction and magnetic permeability. The collars hold the coils in place against the strong magnetic forces that arise when the coils are at full field - the force loading 1 m of dipole is about 400 tonnes!


Cryogenics and vacuum systems are two essential components to make the LHC work.

The cryogenic technology chosen for the LHC uses superfluid helium, which has unusually efficient heat transfer properties, allowing kilowatts of refrigeration to be transported over more than a kilometre with a temperature drop of less than 0.1 K.

LHC superconducting magnets will sit in a 1.9 K bath of superfluid helium at atmospheric pressure. This bath will be cooled by low pressure liquid helium flowing in heat exchanger tubes threaded along the string of magnets.

In all, LHC cryogenics will need 40,000 leak-tight pipe junctions, 12 million litres of liquid nitrogen will be vaporised during the initial cooldown of 31,000 tons of material and the total inventory of liquid helium will be 700,000 litres.

Discover with the help of LHC guides how this sophisticated system works, and the challenges that have to be faced.


LHC has the particularity of having not one, but three vacuum systems: insulation vacuum for cryomagnets, insulation vacuum for the helium distribution line and beam vacuum.

To make sure the cryomagnets are correctly insulated, ~9000 m3 of air are pumped out in the LHC. Did you know that this is the equivalent in volume of a large cathedral? If you are curious, ask the LHC guides!


The Large Hadron Collider will accelerate the two counter-rotating beams of protons to energies of 7 TeV, about a million times larger than the energies of radioactive decay.


But how do you accelerate protons - or any other charged particle, for what matters? The secret lies in the RadioFrequency cavities, that give the "energy kick" to the particles.



The LHC Experiments

The four major LHC experiments, ALICE, ATLAS, CMS and LHCb will put on display their most beautiful and impressive detector pieces, including several production subdetectors. Each experiment "corner" is marked by the corresponding 5 banners from the Big Science exhibition. Slideshows, videos, 3D visits to the experimental cavern, exercises of track reconstruction are on the menu as well.



After the accelerator and the experiments, here comes the Grid.

Two brand new banners show us computing under a totally different - and so artistic - angle.

Grid scientists will welcome you to the GridCafe, as usual one of CERN's favourite shows.