CERN releases data on fundamental physics of the universe

CERN has released an unprecedented 300 TB of physics data for public use.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) has released a wealth of information about the most basic physics of the universe.

The Washington Post reports that CERN’s new public release of 300 terabytes of data is equivalent to the storage capacity of 20,000 Gmail accounts.  The data release is CERN’s largest to date.

The data was collected by various instruments included along the length of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a 17-mile particle accelerator.  LHC experiments involve smashing subatomic particles at close to the speed of light to reveal yet more particles, with the overall goal of learning more about how the universe works at the most fundamental level.

The data, available through CERN’s website, is presented in both “education” and “research” formats.  The education section delivers data sets and visuals designed for end users to engage in data analysis without requiring advanced knowledge of particle physics.  The research section offers access to raw data.

“As scientists, we should take the release of data from publicly funded research very seriously,” Salvatore Rappoccio of CERN said in a statement. “In addition to showing good stewardship of the funding we have received, it also provides a scientific benefit to our field as a whole.”

“We are very pleased that we can make all these data publicly available,” Kati Lassila-Perini of the CMS Collaboration at CERN said. “We look forward to how they are utilized outside our collaboration, for research as well as for building educational tools.”

CERN scientists hope that students and professionals in the field will use the data to corroborate results and extend research further into investigating the physics at work behind every facet of the cosmos.