Over the past few years, CERN has been working with hundreds of universities and independent scientists from around the world to build a $16 billion machine called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). This is a gigantic scientific instrument near Geneva, spanning the border between Switzerland and France about 100 m underground.
It is a particle accelerator used by physicists to study the smallest known particles – the building blocks of all things. It will completely change our understanding of the way matter works; from the teeny-tiny world deep within atoms to the vastness of the Universe.
Here's how it works. The LHC looks sort of like a massive underground donut. When it's turned on, it uses huge magnets to shoot two beams of subatomic particles in opposite directions around the hollow inside of the donut. With each lap these particles travel, they move faster and faster. When the particles ram into eachother, they will be traveling at nearly the speed of light. (That's 299,792,458 metres per second!)
There are many theories as to what will result from these collisions, and we're not quite sure what will happen when the scientists turn it on. To watch a short picture slideshow of CERN's LHC, checkout this video...
(Originally published by a youtuber, here). If this sounds cool to you, maybe you'll be a physicist or an engineer when you grow up. Aiming for good grades in math, science, and computers will get you there.