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Site chosen for CERN, circa 1954. CERN is the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, Switzerland. The provisional CERN council was set up in 1952, and was ratified in 1954. The first excavations began on 17 May 1954. The chosen site was by the French-Swiss border, near the town of Meyrin. The first CERN accelerators, which began operating in 1957 and in 1959, were relatively small, only a few hundred metres across. Later accelerators were massive underground rings extending across the border into France. The largest has a circumference of 27 kilometres. Many of the key discoveries in particle physics have been made at CERN.
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