We use cookies on our website. Find out about our cookie policy here.Continue

Open seven days a week, 10.00-18.00. Entry to the Museum is free.

The history of particles

Large Hadron Collider

The history of particles

Delve deeper inside the atom through the inventions and discoveries of 20th century physics.

Discover some of the most significant objects from the history of physics, from the apparatus used to identify the first subatomic particle to the photograph that confirmed the existence of antimatter.

The birth of CERN, Europe’s particle physics laboratory, from a post-World War 2 vision to the construction of its first particle accelerator.

The foundation of CERN

The birth of CERN, Europe’s particle physics laboratory, from a post-World War 2 vision to the construction of its first particle accelerator.

CTR Wilson’s fascination with clouds helped reveal the hidden subatomic world and was responsible for some of the great finds in 20th-century physics.

CTR Wilson’s cloud chamber

CTR Wilson’s fascination with clouds helped reveal the hidden subatomic world and was responsible for some of the great finds in 20th-century physics.

JJ Thomson's investigations into cathode rays lead him to be the first to discover a sub-atomic particle, the electron.

JJ Thomson and the first particle

JJ Thomson's investigations into cathode rays lead him to be the first to discover a sub-atomic particle, the electron.

Watch our videos and find out how particles were discovered

Videos: History of particles

Watch our videos and find out how particles were discovered

JJ Thomson's cathode ray tube

Watch Collider content developer Rupert Cole take a look at the object that uncovered the first subatomic particle more than a century ago: JJ Thomson’s cathode ray tube.

CTR Wilson's cloud chamber

Watch curator Dr Harry Cliff's visit to Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory to see the first detector that allowed scientists to see ‘particles’, the cloud chamber.

Carl Anderson's positron photograph

Watch Dr Harry Cliff explaining the first photograph of a particle of antimatter, the positron.

Explore related stories Explore related objects Explore related people