Some historical images from this month

This month 35 years ago…

September 1984 – CERN’s 30th anniversary

This photo shows one of the 4,500 visitors at CERN’s Open Day on 15 September 1984. The festivities, which marked the Organization’s 30th anniversary, also included a concert and a formal ceremony on 21 September.  CERN’s team of historians put together an exhibition of archival documents, and a history seminar traced over three decades of achievement. Read all about the events in the November 1984 CERN Courier, or browse through the exhibition catalogue and official speeches here .

This month 32 years ago…

August 1987 – “Cosmic Song” by Serge Moro

In 1985 CERN commissioned a monumental mosaic for its new reception building, Serge Moro’s “Cosmic Song”, which was completed in 1987. This photo shows the scale of the artwork, and a more dramatic picture of the swirling colours and shapes was captured by the July/August CERN Courier (p. 31).

 

The metal and plexiglass flooring, built in collaboration with the CERN workshops, uses fluorescent light effects governed by the constant rain of cosmic ray particles from outer space. You can see it in action in the artist’s film clip.

This month 59 years ago…

July 1960 – Soviet visitors arrive at CERN

Following CERN’s decision in 1959 to welcome Soviet scientists, the first long-term visitors from beyond the iron curtain arrived on 18 July 1960 for a stay of six months.

 

Vladimir Meshcheryakov and Rostislav Ryndin, from the Theoretical Physics Laboratory in Dubna, joined CERN’s Theoretical Studies Division, where they continued to work on projects begun in the USSR, while experimentalist Yuri Sherbakov, also from Dubna, assisted in running the 600 MeV synchro-cyclotron. See the July 1960 CERN Courier  for more details.

This month 48 years ago…

May 1971 – Inauguration of Gargamelle

CERN’s Gargamelle bubble chamber was inaugurated on 7 May 1971. The giantess (named after the mother of Gargantua, in François Rabelais’ The Life of Gargantua and of Pantagruel) was 4.8 metres long by 2 metres in diameter, and weighed 1,000 tonnes.

 

Almost half a century later, some of the pictures showing the trails of bubbles that allowed scientists to view the tracks of the particles form part of an exhibition showcasing work by CERN’s artists-in-residence.

 

Read more about the Quantum exhibition at the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona  (CCCB) here and more about Arts-at-CERN here You can watch a short film about the design, construction and operation of Gargamelle here and see more Gargamelle bubble chamber pictures, with some of their interpretive sketches, here.

This month 50 years ago…

April 1969 – John Adams, Director of the 300 GeV project

By 1 April 1969, John Adams was ready to take up his new role, as Director of CERN’s 300 GeV project, full-time. This photo shows him presenting plans for the new accelerator a few months earlier – you can read the minutes of the 16 January 1969 Committee of Council meeting, largely devoted to discussion of the project, here.

 

At this time it was not even clear in which country the new machine would be built. By showing that it made most financial and technological sense to build the Super Proton Synchrotron next to the existing CERN site, Adams was able to break the deadlock between member states.

This month 60 years ago…

March 1959 – CERN’s D-G strongly in favour of welcoming Soviet scientists

The first informal contacts between Soviet and CERN scientists probably took place at the Atoms for Peace conference in Geneva in September 1955. Exchange visits between scientists from CERN and the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) were suggested in 1957, but there was little progress until N. Bogolubov of JINR raised the subject again on 4 February 1959. CERN’s director-general C. Bakker replied on 5 March that he was, in principle, strongly in favour of the idea, and he began to look into the practicalities. (See their letters here.)

 

Bakker chaired an informal gathering on International Cooperation in the Field of High Energy Physics Accelerators in September 1959. After more consultation with CERN’s member states he was able to report to Council on 1 December 1959 that "all the delegations were in favour of such exchanges provided they were reciprocal", and the Draft Proposal was approved the following day.

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