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Proof That VALVE Nerds Are Running Our Atom Smashers

A hundred meters below the topsoil of Geneva, Switzerland lies the most complicated machines on Earth. Here, at the European Organization for Nuclear Research or CERN, particle accelerators smash the fundamental bits of our universe together to see how reality’s fabric unravels. The scientists at CERN are probing the deepest mysteries of the universe. They are also ginormous nerds.

When Team Avolition user eonrulz visited CERN for a week to learn a programming language that deals with some of the data streaming out of experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, he spent a night getting “drunk in town, then went exploring.” In some of the kilometer-long tunnels he found homages to one of the most sciencey and respected videogame companies ever: Valve Corporation.


Eonrulz found not one but two references to the amazing puzzle/shooter game Portal.


And of course there were Half-Life lambdas tagging the basement walls.


Half-Life features a theoretical physicist as its main character for Freeman’s sake!


We can’t be sure if the tributes to Half-Life came before or after Reddit found a real-life Gordon Freeman working at the LHC and sent him a crowbar, but eonrulz states that there is an apparent reason the symbols are there:

One of the nights (we were doing this all at 12-2am, on several of the days we were there), we decided to follow a path set out by some previous students. It apparently led to something called ‘The Shrine,’ an unofficial memorial to people who died during the construction of the ISR ring and also a somewhat creepy hidden room. The path was marked by the Half Life lambda symbols. Because physicists.

CERNHL_4Via another explorer on Reddit.

Of course the most likely place to find a real resonance cascade is covered in Half-Life symbols. Because physicists.

“One time we also had to climb a 30ft ladder into a chemical treatment plant to get out. So yeah. It was pretty cool.”

You can see the full image gallery here.

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