How does CERN synchronize timing devices?

Author's Note

CERN's timing systems are one of the most complex things I've researched for HowStuffWorks. That's partially because there's no single system at work in all of CERN's many particle accelerators -- different installations have different requirements -- and the accuracy of the timing systems comes down to the nanosecond. Biggest surprise: Even the smallest adjustment of an antenna can impact the synchronization of timing devices.

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  • Brun, R., C.H. Sicard, R. Rausch. "Using WorldFIP for Synchronization and Time Stamping in the LHC Accelerator." (July 6, 2012)
  • CERN. "CERN Press Release." (July 5, 2012)
  • CERN. "Timing, Trigger and Control (TTC) Systems for the LHC." June 28, 2011. (July 6, 2012).
  • Evans, Lyndon and Philip Bryant. "LHC Machine." August 14, 2008. (July 7, 2012)
  • Feldmann, Thorsten. "Relative calibration of the GPS time link between CERN and LNGS." September 2011. (July 5, 2012)
  • "About OPERA." (July 5, 2012)
  • "WorldFIP Protocol." (July 6, 2012)