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This book presents more than 300 exercises, with guided solutions, on topics that span both the experimental and the theoretical aspects of particle physics. The exercises are organized by subject, covering kinematics, interactions of particles with matter, particle detectors, hadrons and resonances, electroweak interactions and flavor physics, statistics and data analysis, and accelerators and beam dynamics. Some 200 of the exercises, including 50 in multiple-choice format, derive from exams set by the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Research (INFN) over the past decade to select its scientific staff of experimental researchers. The remainder comprise problems taken from the undergraduate classes at ETH Zurich or inspired by classic textbooks. Whenever appropriate, in-depth information is provided on the source of the problem, and readers will also benefit from the inclusion of bibliographic details and short dissertations on particular topics. This book is an ideal complement to textbooks on experimental and theoretical particle physics and will enable students to evaluate their knowledge and preparedness for exams. .

Archival historical image

During the summer of 1962, the CERN Photo Club and Public Information Department organized a photographic competition on the theme, ‘How a visitor sees CERN’.

 

E. Fischer scooped a prize with an excellent colour print of the tall, white Administration building standing out against a clear blue sky. Marinus van Gulik took another approach, and another prize, with a series of photos of his son. You can see some of them in the December 1962 CERN Courier. His pictures also featured the Administration building or, as he called it, CERN’s third machine, the paper accelerator.

CERN library event

Enjoy Our Universe is a guide for an enjoyable visit to the Universe. The "Universe" refers to all "observable things," ranging in size from the entire cosmos to elementary particles. This small tome on fundamental physics, cosmology, Higgs bosons, time travel and all that, is unlike any other analogous book. Its scientific statements are correct or, at least, they coincide with the opinions held by the vast majority of experts. It establishes clear distinctions between things we know for sure — in the sense of having strong observational support for them — and things that we know that we do not know, or we do not understand. In this sense, it is scientifically honest. 

In descriptions of our Universe and of the way it functions, beauty is a recurring word. In an attempt to portray its beauty from the eyes of the beholder, the book is profusely illustrated. Its offbeat, tongue-in-cheek illustrations greatly enhance its readability, particularly in those chapters whose understanding, admittedly, requires a little extra effort. This book's idiosyncracies remind us of our own smallness and eccentricities even as we read about the logic, function and magnificence of the Universe.

"Enjoy Our Universe: You Have No Other Choice", by Alvaro De Rújula,
 Oxford University Press, 2018, ISBN 9780198817802

 


                                                     

CERN Courier Bookshelf
July/August 2018
Archival historical image

At CERN, in July 1962, 60 hours of feverish preparation culminated in 60 seconds of history-making television. On the evening of 23 July, some two hundred million viewers in Europe and North America had a short glimpse of CERN at work during the first direct transmission relaying electromagnetic waves from Europe to the USA via an artificial satellite.

 

Telstar was an international collaboration that included NASA, AT&T, Bell Labs (who carried out the construction work) and the French and British national post offices. Read more in the CERN Courier, including why Switzerland chose to devote its one minute of allotted airtime to our laboratory; learn more about Telstar from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

CERN Courier Bookshelf
June 2018
Archival historical image

On 12 June 1973, staff at Geneva airport measured winds gusting up to 47 knots. A few kilometres away, where CERN lay right in the path of the storm, it was even worse. Torrential rain and hail devastated neighbouring vineyards and caused havoc inside the laboratory. Roads turned to rivers and buildings to swimming pools. The Proton Synchrotron was shut down as water in the basement rose to 1.80 metres.

 

Muddy water forced up from the drains made matters worse, but all staff mucked in to help. When the floods receded, everything had to be hosed down (treatment not usually recommended for electrical equipment!) and the repair gangs and cleaners got on with the slow job of recovery. See more pictures and a link to the CERN Courier article here.

CERN Courier Bookshelf
May 2018
Archival historical image

CERN’s Gargamelle bubble chamber was 4.8 metres long by 2 metres in diameter, weighed 1,000 tonnes, and held nearly 12 cubic metres of heavy-liquid Freon. It was inaugurated on 7 May 1971 with a day of speeches, visits and lunch for the journalists and other guests. This short film, made a few months earlier, describes the design, construction and operation of the giantess.  

 

Early results from Gargamelle provided crucial evidence for the existence of quarks, and in July 1973 the Gargamelle collaboration presented the first direct evidence of the weak neutral current. The pictures that made the tracks of particles visible as trails of bubbles, yielding these scientific results, are also extremely beautiful. The one shown dates from 1978; you can see more, and some of their interpretive sketches, here.

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