CERN - Engineering & Computing Collaboration
The physics programme at CERN presents varied engineering challenges at the forefront of technology, from the atomic scale to the colossal. Engineers design, develop and commission the cutting-edge technology, machines and systems that the physicists need for their research.
CERN engineering challenges include:
- Designing radiofrequency cavities to boost particles along accelerators
- Producing thousands of huge, custom-built electromagnets to focus and guide the particle beams
- Operating the world's largest cryogenic system to cool the superconducting magnets on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) to a few Kelvin
- Maintaining the largest operational vacuum system in the world , for the LHC
- Designing, constructing and integrating giga-channel electronic detectors, operated at multi-MHz frame rates
- Developing computing resources, such as the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG), to process the experimental data. The CERN Data Centre processes approximately one petabyte of data every day and hosts 11,000 servers with 100,000 processor cores. WLCG, the world’s largest computing grid, runs more than two million jobs per day and at peak rates, 10 gigabytes of data may be transferred from its servers every second
- Providing and maintaining the civil engineering infrastructure for up to 10,000 people and the experimental programme, both above and below ground.
CERN’s current development focus is the High-Luminosity Large Hadron Collider (HL-LHC) project, which aims to increase the intensity of the LHC by a factor of 10 beyond the LHC’s design value with physics operation in 2026. HL-LHC will face many engineering challenges but offers numerous opportunities.
How to proceed?
- Talk to your local particle physics group, who will already have ties to CERN
- Contact departments at CERN directly if you have an idea for a collaboration
- Encourage your students to apply for CERN technical studentships
- Encourage suitable candidates for CERN graduate and professional positions
- Look at the CERN sample projects page for an overview of potential endeavours that CERN undertakes, and with which you could be involved
- Look at STFC’s LHC Resource Portal
- STFC’s LHC Resource Portal is a one-stop-shop for information relating to CERN and its activities, as well as a promotion tool to increase the UK’s scientific communities’ engagement with the world’s foremost particle physics laboratory and the largest scientific instrument ever designed and built for scientific research. As a Member State to CERN, UK scientists and engineers have direct access to employment opportunities. CERN is currently advertising vacancies for these jobs and provides a highly competitive remuneration and employee benefits package across all career levels and disciplines. There are jobs directly related to the HL-LHC upgrade that are indicative of future opportunities, also.
HL-LHC employment opportunities (PDF, 380KB)
Engineers are vital to CERN's activities – to push the boundaries of experimental physics, they're building some of the most advanced machines in the world!