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Government stops to ponder universe origins

The Swiss cabinet has toured the world’s biggest particle accelerator at the European Organization for Particle Research (Cern) during a visit to Geneva.

The cabinet visited the Atlas Experiment, one of the detectors of particle movement in the Large Hadron Collider. The machine, which aims to understand the make-up of matter and the Big Bang, has been temporarily suspended for a review.

After a tour by Cern director general Rolf Heuer, Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, who also holds the rotating Swiss presidency, said they were given an explanation of anti-matter, adding the collider “may provide answers to the question of where we come from”.

The collider is a circular tunnel, 27 kilometres in circumference, lying under the Swiss-French border, where high-energy protons in two counter-rotating beams collide to search for exotic particles.

It is traditional for the cabinet to tour the home canton of the member holding the rotating presidency.

During the two-day trip to Geneva, the cabinet was also due to lunch with cantonal senators, meet the residents of a local village and visit a border post.

Calmy-Rey, who hails from Geneva, refused to answer questions about rumours she was planning on bowing out of politics.

swissinfo.ch and agencies


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