History of CERN, and the LHC and LEP particle accelerator

CERN history

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (official name), commonly known by the acronym CERN (provisional acronym used in 1952, which responded to the French name Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, that is, European Council for Nuclear Research), is the largest research laboratory in particle physics worldwide.

It is located on the border between France and Switzerland, between the commune of Meyrin (in the Canton of Geneva) and the commune of Saint-Genis-Pouilly (in the department of Ain).

As an international facility, CERN is not officially under Swiss or French jurisdiction. The member states contribute CHF 1,000 million annually (approximately €664 million, US $1,000 million).

Founded in 1954 by 12 European countries, CERN is today a model of international scientific collaboration and one of the most important research centers in the world. It currently has 20 member states, which share funding and decision making in the organization. Apart from these, another 28 non-member countries participate with scientists from 220 institutes and universities in projects at CERN using their facilities. Of these non-member countries, eight states and organizations have observer status, participating in council meetings.

CERN’s first great scientific success came in 1984 when Carlo Rubbia and Simon van der Meer won the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of the W and Z bosons.In 1992 it had been Georges Charpak’s flip “for the invention and also the development of particle detectors, particularly the multicable proportional chamber “.CERN’s success is not only its ability to produce scientific results of great interest, but also the development of new technologies, both computer and industrial. Among the first highlights in 1990 the invention of the www by scientists Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau, but we must not forget the development and maintenance of important mathematical libraries (CERNLIB) used for many years in most scientific centers, or also Mass storage systems (the LHC will store a volume of data on the order of several PBs each year). Among the seconds we can mention 9 T magnets in several meters, high precision detectors, superconducting magnets of great uniformity over several kilometers, etc.

The twelve original founding members were:

Germany (then West Germany)








United Kingdom



Yugoslavia – then withdrew

All founding members remained at CERN, except Yugoslavia, which retired in 1961 and never joined again.

Since its foundation, CERN regularly accepted new members. All of them remained within the organization continuously, except for Spain, which joined in 1961, withdrew in 1969 and rejoined in 1983. The list of members throughout history is as follows:

Austria joined in 1959(13 members)

Yugoslavia retired in 1961(12 members)

Spain joined in 1961(13 members)

Portugal joined in 1985(14 members)

Finland joined in 1991

Poland joined in 1991(together with Finland , making 16 the number of participating members)

Hungary joined in 1992(17 members)

Czech Republic joined in 1993

Slovakia joined in 1993(together with the Czech Republic, increasing the total membership to 19)

Bulgaria joined in 1999 20 member states).

Currently there are 20 member states.

Observers and stakeholders

Eight international organizations or countries have “observer status”:

European Commission







United States

The list of non-member countries involved in CERN programs is completed by:

Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Cyprus, South Korea, Croatia, Slovenia, Estonia, Georgia, Iran, Ireland, Iceland, Morocco, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Romania, Serbia, South Africa, Taiwan and Ukraine.

The CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research) was born in 1954 after several years of gestation and was the result of a joint effort between scientists on both sides of the Atlantic: R. Oppenheimer, I. Rabi, L. de Broglie, P. Auger, L. Kowalski or U. Amaldi, and politicians who sought to consolidate peace in Europe, thus initiating a union from a scientific collaboration.

The CERN mandate, according to its constitution, was aimed at “promoting collaboration between European states in nuclear research of a purely scientific and fundamental nature, as well as in the fields of research directly related to it. The Organization will not have any relationship with military matters.

After 50 years, the history of CERN translates into one of the most successful scientific adventures of the last century. The Organization went from a childhood whose destiny was the reconstruction of Fundamental Physics in Europe to a maturity in which it consolidates itself as the world leader in High Energy Physics, a discipline that requires complex and advanced technological facilities. CERN has made key contributions to the world of knowledge of the intimate structure of matter and fundamental forces: from the confirmation of the validity of quantum electrodynamics as a theory of electromagnetic interactions to the verification of the Standard Model, which jointly describes the electromagnetic, weak and strong forces ; without forgetting the essential discoveries that validated the unified electroweak theory.

It has also played a relevant role in the discovery of multiple particles that allowed to intuit the existence of quarks or in the determination of the number of elementary components of matter, also studying the internal structure of nucleons. In addition, we are familiar with the first experiments with antiparticles carried out in the Organization or the mass production of antinuclei, determining properties that, in the process of energy conversion in matter and antimatter, favor matter, possible explanation of the lack of signs of antimatter in the Universe.

In 1949 the Nobel Prize in Physics Luis de Broglie proposed the creation of a scientific and European laboratory at the European Conference of Culture in Lausanne. A year later, in Geneva and on the occasion of the V General Conference of UNESCO, Isidore Rabi, also Nobel laureate, proposed a resolution that was adopted unanimously authorizing UNESCO to “provide assistance and promote the training and organization of laboratories in order to promote international collaboration of the scientific community.” In 1952, eleven European governments decided to create the Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN).

Finally, in September 1954, CERN began operating by establishing its headquarters in Geneva. The founding countries were: Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland and Yugoslavia. In 1959 Austria joined and in 1961 Spain.

Spain left CERN in 1969 to return in 1983, Portugal joined in 1985, Finland and Poland in 1991, Hungary in 1992, the Czech and Slovak Republics in 1993 and Bulgaria in 1999. Currently, the number of member states is 20.

Other universal scientists such as J. Robert Oppenheimer, Pierre Auger, L. Kowalski, Ugo Amaldi, also intervened with their effort and will in the creation of the Laboratory.

directly related to it. The Organization will have no relation to military matters …” The Organization sought to promote the research of Fundamental Physics in Europe, but today stands out as a world leader in High Energy Physics.

The contributions of CERN throughout its history

During the 50 years of history of CERN, there have been many contributions to the scientific world in general and to that of physics in particular. Here are some of them:

Knowledge of the intimate structure of matter and the fundamental forces that govern it: confirmation of the validity of quantum electrodynamics as a theory of electromagnetic interactions, checking of the Standard Model, which jointly describes electromagnetic, weak and strong forces, and the essential discoveries that validated the unified electroweak theory. Discovery of multiple particles that allowed to discover the existence of quarks or the determination of the number of elementary components of matter, also studying the internal structure of nucleons. First experiments with antiparticles or the mass production of antinuclei, determining properties that offer a possible explanation of the lack of signs of antimatter in the Universe.

In the history of CERN there are a series of scientific milestones that have marked the future of the Organization such as: the discovery of neutral currents in weak interactions (1973), the detection of W and Z bosons (Nobel Prize for Carlo Rubbia and Simon Van der Meer in 1984), the determination of the number of elementary components and the exhaustive verification of the Standard Model in the experiments carried out with the LEP (Large Electron Positron collider), which began in 1989 and lasted over a period of more than one decade. To continue with the study of the subject


CERN has developed increasingly powerful accelerators, such as: the Proton Synchrotron (PS) inaugurated in 1959, the world’s first collision rings (the Intersecting Storage Rings),1971, Proton Supersynchronotron (SPS) that began in 1977, the Proton Antiproton Collider (LEP) of 1983 and, still in the process of creation, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), which is scheduled to start in 2007 and will share its 27 km tunnel with the LEP.

Another fundamental milestone for its importance in the culture and development of our society was the discovery of the protocol (World Wide Web) in 1990 by British physicist Tim Berners-Lee. The web emerged due to the need to create a large network of interconnection of CERN with other computer networks and a common language that would allow all connected computers to communicate directly.

Normally, the first initiative cited of a Europeanist nature was carried out in 1950 by French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman to integrate the steel and coal industries in Western Europe. The result was in 1951 the creation of the ECSC: European Coal and Steel Community, formed by: Belgium, West Germany, Luxembourg, France, Italy and the Netherlands. However, although CERN began in 1954, it is in 1949 when the idea began to take shape, one year before the ECSC proposal.

Official inauguration of the LHC at CERN, at that moment the LHC remained damaged, but the official inauguration was not postponed until its repair that as planned would take place in the summer of 2009.

As lately it has been usual, again exclusively for the entire network and the most rabid news (of 2008), channel ianuaStella brings us once again a documentary about the particle accelerator of Geneva, with its 27 kilometers of circumference, has compartments for the detectors of the programmed experiments such as the LHCb, Alice CMS and ATLAS, where each of them performs a specific function for the study of the beginning of the Universe.

On this occasion, the National Geographic series, Superstructures or MegaStructures, also focuses on notions of the astrophysical functions of CERN and LHC, in the largest scientific construction in history. Where great dipole magnets, sensors and detectors, will be attentive to new discoveries of new particles that could give us a 180º turn on current cosmological theories. As well mentioned in this documentary, the LHC has also served, for the current internet we know, of hospital scanners, communications, etc …

So we will see how CERN was built, with unpublished images of the interior.

Horizon – The 6000 million dollar experiment

Parallel universes

From mysticism, it was thought of that parallel universe called “astral dimension”, and now physicists have turned this mystical idea to a scientific idea, of “parallel universes”, in which they coexist with infinite universes and possibilities.

Physics has always tried to explain everything about our Universes, and that dream materialized in the famous string theory. So before it was thought of a harmonic, stable and Newtonian universe, but with avant-garde theories it shows that the universe is extremely dynamic, and also to make a theory, the unifying theory, a theory of everything, that string theory tries to unify .

String theory is an elegant theory, which explains the universe in an unprecedented way, that the unity of matter is composed of strings, and each string has a “tone”, as if the universe were orchestrated. It also explains the origin of the Big bang, due to the clash of the Branas, the superstring that surrounds the universe, and that it in turn had 11 dimensions. And for more inri, we could create a Universe.

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