Part 5: Subatomic: The European Organization for Nuclear Research

In Part 5 of The Invisible Photograph, investigate how photographic technologies are being used to visualize the subatomic world at CERN—where photography and the world’s most advanced particle physics research collide.

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Photographing the Invisible at CERN

Picture this: you’re standing 100 meters underground. You’ve just taken a one-minute-long elevator ride down the equivalent of 30 stories and gone through a series of locked doors that slam resoundingly behind you. The final set of doors opens and you’re confronted with a dazzling array of colors and shapes that confounds the senses, at a monumental scale that takes your breath away. Suddenly the picture resolves into an enormous machine and you’re dumbfounded. You realize you’re only glimpsing a minute portion of the whole, standing where only a select few have been granted access, and seeing where world history was made. Oh, and by the way, you’re buried underground. In Switzerland. What rises first to your mind? Thank goodness I’m not claustrophobic

This is—give or take—the sequence of emotions I experienced when first confronted with the ATLAS detector at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN)…