The European Organization for Nuclear Research (French: Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire, originally “Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire“), known as CERN (/ˈsɜrn/; French pronunciation: [sɛʁn]; see History) is an international organization whose purpose is to operate the world’s largest particle physics laboratory.
Established in 1954, the organization is based in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco–Swiss border, (46°14′3″N 6°3′19″E) and has twenty European member states.
The term CERN is also used to refer to the laboratory, which employs just under 2,400 full-time employees and 1,500 part-time employees, and hosts some 10,000 visiting scientists and engineers, representing 608 universities and research facilities and 113 nationalities.
CERN’s main function is to provide the particle accelerators and other infrastructure needed for high-energy physics research – as a result, numerous experiments have been constructed at CERN following international collaborations. It is also the birthplace of the World Wide Web. The main site at Meyrin has a large computer centre containing powerful data-processing facilities, primarily for experimental-data analysis; because of the need to make these facilities available to researchers elsewhere, it has historically been a major wide area networking hub.