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a giant of fundamental physics

ATLASATLAS, the biggest detector of its kind ever built, will explore a wide range of physics phenomena. Among other things, the experiment will analyse the proton collisions at the LHC to look for the Higgs boson, the particle that would explain how particles acquire mass. It will also try to solve the puzzle of dark matter, which is abundant in our Universe but remains a mystery to us, and it will test theories such as supersymmetry.

The ATLAS sub-detectors are arranged around a unique magnet system comprising the largest toroid magnet ever built. They were installed in the cavern in large assemblies, rather like a ship in a bottle.

The ATLAS detector is located opposite CERN’s main site in Meyrin (Switzerland), at Point 1 of the accelerator. Installed in a huge underground hall, one of the world’s biggest caverns devoted to an experiment, the detector is 46 m long and 25 m high, as tall as a seven-storey building. The ATLAS collaboration has 2100 members representing 167 institutes and universities in 37 different countries all over the world.