In December 1951, at a UNESCO meeting in Paris about the proposed new European Organization for Nuclear Research, the Synchro-Cyclotron was described as an ideal solution for a medium-energy accelerator. The reasons given were that it would be relatively easy and fast to build and not too costly, and it was primarily intended to bridge the gap until CERN 28 GeV Proton Synchrotron would be ready in the early 1960s.
In 1952 Professor C. Bakker became Leader of the group responsible for the design and construction of the CERN Synchro-Cyclotron (SC).
The design of the original Synchro-Cyclotron machine with a circumference of 15.7 metres started in 1953, before CERN came into existence. Building and construction for the machine began in 1954 on the site at Meyrin and the objective was an accelerator producing protons of 600 MeV energy with an average beam intensity of 1mA. The work was dispersed amongst universities, institutes and industry all over Western Europe.
In August 1957 the first beams were accelerated in the SC machine. The division was responsible for testing and operation of the SC, experimental research on SC, electronics and chemistry. The Emulsion group from the Scientific and Technical Services Division (STS) was transferred to SC Divisions.
The experimental programme began in April 1958.
In 1959 SC research groups were concentrated on planning and preparation for the PS (Proton Synchrotron) counters, emulsions, cloud chambers...
In 1961 the SC Division, renamed the Synchro-Cyclotron Machine Division (MSC) and directed by P. Lapostolle, was responsible for operation, maintenance, modification and development of the machine. The Counter, Emulsion, Nuclear Chemistry and Spallation , Cloud Chamber, and Electronics Groups moved to Nuclear Physics Division NP.
In 1964 G. Brianti became Leader of the MSC Division and the machine was adapted to provide beams for a unique on-line isotope separator (ISOLDE).
In 1966 new departments which remained until 1976 were formed by regrouping the existing divisions. MSC Division was integrated into the Physics I Department with the Nuclear Physics Division (NP).
In 1971, following approval for the construction of a second Laboratory adjoining the existing site, divisions were divided between two administrative units, Laboratory I and Laboratory II. MSC Division remained part of the Physics I Department of Laboratory I.