Belfast Telegraph

Companies can play part solving mysteries of universe

What is the universe made of? How did it start? Physicists at CERN are seeking answers, using some of the world's most powerful particle accelerators.

At CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. They use the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter – the fundamental particles.

The particles are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives the physicists clues about how the particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature.

The instruments used at CERN are purpose-built particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before the beams are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN laboratory sits astride the Franco-Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe's first joint ventures and now has 20 member states.

What should companies do if they want to become a CERN supplier?

The Science & Technology Facilities Council acts as the official industry liaison. Northern Ireland businesses can register at www.stfc.ac. uk/tenderopportunities and also directly with CERN's supplier database at www.procurement.web. cern.ch/register-for-our- suppliers-database.

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