The Large Hadron Collider is "just down the road" from me here in Switzerland. Here is a very interesting presentation from one of the physicists about why they're bothering with this HUGE undertaking for the collider. I have a new co-worker from the office who used to work at CERN, but I suppose got tired of working with the crazy physicists (my words, not his) (go look in my LinkedIn profile). He's been doing a pretty good job of explaining the detector, how it works, how they built their computer network to do the job.
It seems to me that he left the more interesting job to come to my company, and I would have gladly traded with him. Gee, my office is only responsible for some of the most important computers on the Internet, but he's smashing atoms and watching the bits fly off.
Anyway, watch the video, I think Brian Cox does a really good job in explaining why this LHC is important, what they're doing, and he gives a brief lesson on particle physics and the "standard model"
If that's too serious for you, here's a checklist of the CERN scavenger hunt that my friend Chris invented when he and his wife visited CERN at its biennial open-house:
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