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August 1968 - CERN’s new telephone exchange

Dialling zero for an outside line could get frustrating in 1965. With just 17 lines serving 1,000 CERN extensions, callers faced long waits – and if the overloaded battery failed no-one got through at all. Phone traffic had increased by 70% between 1963 and 1965, complaints were frequent and the exchange staff were feeling overloaded too.


No more lines, extensions or operators’ desks could be added to existing exchange, so a new one was commissioned. Stop-gap measures until it was ready in August 1968 included pleas for patience and strict rationing of the only 140 new internal phone numbers remaining at CERN.

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July 1968 – The 55th Tour de France comes to CERN

CERN’s internal magazine carried detailed instructions about closed roads, blocked entrances, and suggested detours. Staff were invited to respect the parking ban and to obey police instructions, but plenty of them took the opportunity to pile outside and watch as well. On 19 July 1968 the Tour de France came right past CERN’s main entrance!


CERN staff joined fans lining the route to encourage riders on Stage 20, which took the riders 242.5 km from Sallanches to Besançon, over the Faucille pass in the nearby Jura mountains. This was the last year that the Tour ran on a national team format; stage 20 was won by Jozef Huysmans (Belgium A), who finished 32nd overall when the race ended two days later.


CERN library event

Dear colleagues,

The international Thorium Energy Committee (iThEC) and the CERN Library have the pleasure to invite you to the presentation of the Proceedings of ThEC13: "Thorium Energy for the World".

The presentation is organized on the occasion of the publication by Springer of the ThEC13 Conference proceedings. The Thorium Energy Conference (ThEC13) was organized jointly by the international Thorium Energy Committee (iThEC), an association based in Geneva, and the International Thorium Energy Organisation (IThEO). The Conference gathered some of the world’s leading experts on thorium technologies to review the possibility of destroying nuclear waste in the short term, and replacing the uranium fuel cycle in nuclear systems with the thorium fuel cycle in the long term. The latter would provide abundant, reliable and safe energy with no CO2 production, no air pollution, and minimal waste production. The ThEC13 proceedings are a source of reference on the use of thorium for energy generation. They offer detailed technical reviews of the status of thorium energy technologies, from basic R&D to industrial developments.

The full table of contents of the book is available at and anyone with a CERN account may access the full proceedings online from the Springer Web site:


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June 1957 - The P.A.U.L.I. and its uses

In June 1957, V. F. Weisskopf proudly announced acquisition of an instrument with unique possibilities - an intricate mechanism for testing complicated physics theories and producing new ideas. But it required careful handling! Inexperienced operators testing a theory would often see no reaction at first, or just hear faint noises reminiscent of German expressions such as “Ganz dumm” and “Sind sie noch immer da?” It was rather bulky, almost spherical in shape, and very much dependent on the correct fuel supply. Weisskopf said that, for reasons not yet fully understood, nobody had been able to make the machine work before noon.


In fact, Wolfgang Pauli had been acquired as a professor at the ETH Zürich in 1928, but a footnote explained that the paper had been classified since 1932, and partial publication was only now permitted since the U.S.S.R. had succeeded in building a similar gadget with a radius 1.5 times larger than the original model.


You can read the full report here (p.9) along with other fascinating articles in the spoof Revues of Unclear Physics, published at the University of Birmingham to celebrate the 50th birthday of R. E. Peierls.

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May 1963 – Fast ejection of protons from the PS

This remarkable photo, used on the cover of the May 1963 CERN Courier, captures the passage of protons extracted from CERN’s Proton Synchrotron (PS).


Initially, the PS had operated with internal targets, but when a beam of higher intensity was needed the fast ejection system was developed to eject the beam towards external targets. During the afternoon of Sunday 12 May 1963 the PS became the source of the world's first beam of 25 GeV protons to travel freely in air.


This photo was taken the following day by members of CERN’s Public Information Office. They placed blocks of plastic scintillator along the path of the beam and set up a camera to record the effect. As expected, the scintillators glowed brightly as the beam passed through them.


You can read more in the May and June 1963 editions of the CERN Courier, and there are more photos here.

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April 1954 – The housing problem in Geneva

“CERN staff members settling in Geneva have to meet with very serious housing difficulties”…“It might take them up to several months depending on seasonal factors”…“They may try to secure housing through repeated visits to the 47 Régies [agents] where they will meet with lack of interest: the demand is so high that the Régies always have many more customers that they can satisfy.”


Most staff coming to CERN in the mid-1950s wanted to rent a flat, but about a hundred small villas were for sale in the region too, priced between 70,000 and 120,000 CHF (…“everybody agrees to the fact that prices are inflated”…)


Sounds familiar? That’s not surprising – as a December 1953 report had already pointed out, “A recent inquiry has led to the conclusion that the housing situation in Geneva will not change next year and that the shortage will remain for 1-2 more years at least.”

Inspire news

Traditionally DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers) have been associated with published papers in the digital era, but papers are not the only research objects that physicists may want to search, use, and cite. We talked with Jim Simone of Fermilab about his efforts to get DOIs assigned to MILC collaboration datasets and to get records of Read More →

Inspire news

      一年一度的INSPIRE高被引文章列表(INSPIRE Topcites)对上一年度的热点话题提供了概览。为了保证专注于高能物理领域,我们发布的这份列表中仅考虑来自核心文章的被引次数。为了确保覆盖面的广度,我们还针对每一个arXiv的类别给出了高被引文献列表。       除了列表中间的几篇文章和最后几篇有关量子涨落的经典文章,2015年40篇高被引文章列表延续了近期的趋势,与上一年度基本一致。2014年的前五篇文章依然在今年的高被引文章列表中,今年排位第五【5】的由Maldacena在1997年发表的有关AdS/CFT的文章比排位第六【6】的在2002年发表的描述GEANT4的文章(这篇文章去年排名第七),多了近150次的被引频次。       列表中出现的第一篇新文章位列第七【7】,这是一篇讲宇宙学参数普朗克的文章,是基于发表于2013年普朗克文章【3】的最新研究成果。自从这篇文章在2015年2月发表之后,被引频次超过700,这样,有关普朗克的文章在列表中总共有4篇。2015年2月还有一篇有关膨胀的文章【27】,也是基于发表于2013年一篇文章【30】更新后的研究成果。       第15位是我们的列表中新出现的第二篇文章【15】,发表于2014年,是发表于2011年MadGraph5文章【16】的后续,它描述了自动计算,微扰理论的次领头阶的软件包。       提交至arXiv.org名单上的论文中,有11篇来自hep-ph领域,4 篇来自hep-th,当然,还有两篇发现希格斯的论文是来自hep-ex领域,另外有10 篇来自astro-ph领域(8篇来自astro-ph.CO领域和两篇发表于1998年的关于超新星的文章【10,13】,如果这两篇文章撰写的时候有astro-ph.CO的子类别,那么这两篇文章就会被归属于这个类别)。astro-ph类别里都是观测类文章,因此我们能看出理论和“实验性”论文的数量大致相当。发表于数字化时代之前的有关粒子物理和宇宙学的经典论文,却是由于近代的科学研究和发现出现在了高被引文章列表中。有趣的是,从这些文章年度被引用频次的图表中都能看出明显的上升趋势。 [39] [37] [33] [32] [31] [26] [20] [23] Read the post in English here.

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March 1968 – Muons are like drunken cowboys

In March 1968 staff were invited to watch the new documentary film about CERN. They probably enjoyed themselves, as Guido Franco’s aim was to inform the public through entertainment. He sought to engage an audience’s attention and make them want to learn, rather than forcing information on them. If that sounds uncontentious, you might be surprised at the strength of feeling the film aroused.


Despite considerable editing at the end of 1967 to meet criticisms of the first version, opinion still varied widely. Some were enthusiastic, feeling it captured the spirit and excitement of particle physics research; others found it frivolous, mocking scientists and portraying them as playboys having a wonderful time at the taxpayers’ expense. Even the fiercest critics thought it reflected great credit on Franco as a film-maker, however, they just feared it could do untold damage to the reputation of CERN.

Inspire news

INSPIRE Matrix of Topcites The annual INSPIRE Topcites list provides a snapshot of the topics that were of greatest interest in a given calendar year. To maintain the focus on HEP, we construct the list by considering only citations from core papers. To be complete, we also provide individual Topcite lists for each arXiv category Read More →


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