Tucked away in the peaceful Swiss countryside, deep underground under vineyards and gentle slopes of Jura mountains, lies the place which should have a special spot on the map of the world wide geekdom.
CERN complex, the main playground of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, has multiple claims to glory.
Founded in 1954 to coordinate research efforts of 12 European countries, CERN is nowadays the world's largest and (arguably) most expensive physics lab, and a home to an array of impressive doomsday machinery including six accelerators and the ominous Large Hadron Collider, purported as a potential birthplace of the first man-made black hole. (Though much has been made of the black hole it is important to remember that this "black hole" would be microscopic, pop in and out of existence and pose no danger to anyone, anywhere.)
CERN is the place where the very fabric of time-space continuum is torn to pieces, examined and reassembled. Notable achievements of this scientific factory include the discovery of half a dozen exotic subatomic particles and other physics phenomena, for which at least two Nobel Prizes were awarded to CERN scientists.
However, the CERN invention which has touched and altered the lives of the largest number of people is thankfully of quite a different nature. CERN laboratories are the birth place of the World Wide Web, HTML markup language and HTTP protocol. In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee – at that time a scientist at CERN – conceived it as a method of communication between scientists working on different projects and remote locations. Once out of the bottle it changed our communication and media landscape forever. In fact, you are appreciating it right now!