Library news

Archival historical image
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.

Archival historical image
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 →

Archival historical image
5 Feb 1960 – Inauguration of the Proton Synchrotron

The PS came into operation on 24 November 1959, breaking existing records as the world’s biggest and most powerful particle accelerator. The official ceremony a few months later (you can watch part of it in this 1960 documentary) was a celebration of the technical achievement but also of successful European co-operation that paved the way for progress in the aftermath of World War II. A special issue of the CERN Courier gave more information about the new machine. 


A press conference and visit were followed by lunch, then the official inauguration by Niels Bohr, speeches and a reception. The guest list included several hundred eminent scientific and political figures. The back cover of the commemorative brochure also featured VIPs - the men and women who made up the PS team.

Archival historical image
January 1961– Matter in question

If you’re not ready to start the New Year yet, how about a trip back in time instead? In January 1961 staff were invited to watch CERN’s first documentary film.


CERN was of growing interest to journalists, including those in ‘the field of television and moving pictures, news and featurial films’, and by the end of 1958 the organization decided it was time to make a film of its own. The contract was awarded to Georges Pessis in May, and filming soon began. A team of CERN advisors carefully considered all aspects of the work, including what it should be called. After some brainstorming they settled on Matter in Question for the English version. The first private viewing took place on 12 July 1960; the head of the Public Information Service told Pessis that the photography had been very favourably received, and no one had been too critical of the music – possibly jazz wasn’t to everyone’s taste.

Archival historical image
20 December 1962 – Summoning the Founding Fathers

By 1962, with CERN’s long-term accelerator construction plans still not fixed, some member states were growing impatient to pursue their own projects. A meeting was called for January 1963, where Europe’s top high-energy physicists would thresh out the whole question of coordinating national initiatives with those carried out at CERN.


Reaching agreement between so many countries was never going to be easy, so Director-General Weisskopf suggested a pre-meeting of even more important people – CERN’s “Founding Fathers”. He felt an “informal exchange of view among people who are beyond the pure scientific level” - people committed to CERN’s aims and with experience in governmental matters – would help find “the best way in which to prepare a sympathetic response for the various European countries”. Discussions began over dinner at Le Béarn in Geneva on 19 December, and continued the next day. You can read the minutes of the meeting here. The top physicists duly met January, and became the European Committee for Future Accelerators. 

Inspire news

The INSPIRE service is operated by a global consortium, including IHEP in Beijing , We strive to connect the global High-Energy Physics (HEP) community, indexing over 1.000.000 relevant publications and offering accurate author profiles with citation statistics. . To celebrate our global reach, and serve the diversity of our community, some of our blog posts Read More →

Archival historical image
2 November 1954 – “OERN is difficult to pronounce in most languages”

Has it ever struck you as odd that the initials CERN refer to an organization that ceased to exist when the current organization was created? If so, you’re not alone.


The Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire was a provisional body set up in 1952 to establish a world-class fundamental physics research centre in Europe. It was dissolved when it had successfully accomplished its mission but by then, of course, the acronym CERN had stuck. Most people felt this wouldn’t cause any particular legal or other complications, though Lew Kowarski (second from the left in this 1955 photo) considered the idea “so silly as to be intolerable”. You can read Director of Administration Dakin’s memo on the subject here.


Subscribe to Library news

You are here