Large Hadron Collider Powered By…Apple?


If you check out the webcams at the European Organization for Nuclear Research’s CMS project, you may just observe something rather unexpected.

Although the picture below is from CERN, it’s much more akin to a boring office space than a scientific laboratory. However, look a little closer and you might notice something out of the ordinary. It seems that some of the research at CERN may be powered by Apple.

The scientists over at CERN are doing some serious research, using data from the Large Hadron Collider for something called the Compact Muon Solenoid Experiment. While it’s not clear if this is an officially sanctioned MacBook, using Apple gear for scientific research is nothing new.

Drew McCormack is Chief Developer over at The Mental Faculty. Alongside creating apps for Mac and iPhone to aid learning, he’s also a board member of, an independent community of scientists using Apple software and hardware for their research.

Drew took a moment to explain why Apple is on the rise in the scientific community, “There has been a trend over the last few years in US Universities for students to buy a MacBook or MacBook Pro. This has given Apple a leg up in higher education.”

Mac’s aren’t just for science students though, as Drew explains, “The rise in student uptake of Macs is gradually leading to more and more interest in Macs as scientific workstations. A Mac can be used to answer email, surf the web, and write scientific articles, but it can equally run high-performance calculations. This is due to the UNIX underpinnings of Mac OS X, and more recently to Apple’s emphasis on performance in Snow Leopard. Technologies like OpenCL and Grand Central are very attractive to scientists who need to crunch numbers.”

Over the coming years, perhaps we’ll see a few scientific breakthroughs made possible by Apple devices, that is if the LHC doesn’t trigger the end of the universe and ultimate destruction of humankind first.


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