All events

14 April 1994

The first prototype bending-magnet for the LHC reaches a field of 8.73 Tesla, which is higher than the 8.4 Tesla field at which the LHC will operate in 2012.

Superconducting magnets must be "trained" so that they can maintain the superconducting state necessary to achieve such high fields. Any abnormal termination of the superconducting state, which switches the magnet back to its normal, resistive state, is called a "quench."

LHC Director Lyn Evans receives a hand-written note as he sits in a Finance Committee meeting. It reads:

Timelines
The Large Hadron Collider
3 December 1993

On 3 December 1993, the Akeno Giant Air Shower Array (AGASA) recorded a cosmic ray with an energy of 2x1020 eV. This was a particularly well-measured event because the cosmic rays fell completely inside the detector array and arrived from a nearly vertical direction. This was the highest energy cosmic ray observed at AGASA and greatly exceeded that of any known source.

Timelines
Cosmic rays
21 October 1993

Due to concerns linked to rising costs, the US government votes to cancel the Superconducting Super Collider project. The LHC becomes the sole candidate for a new high-energy hadron collider.

Timelines
The Large Hadron Collider
1 July 1993

The Czech Republic joins

Statement of the government of the Czech Republic on questions of membership in International Governmental Organizations:

Timelines
Member states
30 April 1993

On 30 April 1993 CERN issued a statement putting the Web into the public domain, ensuring that it would remain an open standard. The organization released the source code of Berners-Lee's hypertext project, WorldWideWeb, into the public domain the same day. WorldWideWeb became free software, available to all. The move had an immediate effect on the spread of the web. By late 1993 there are over 500 known web servers, and the web accounts for 1% of internet traffic. 

Timelines
The birth of the World Wide Web
1 March 1993

The collaboration for A Large Ion Collider Experiment (ALICE) propose to build a detector at the LHC to study heavy-ion collisions. The letter of intent marks the first official use of the name ALICE.

Read the ALICE letter of intent

Timelines
The Large Hadron Collider
31 December 1992

By a letter dated 16 December 1992, the Permanent Mission of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic (CSFR) to the United Nations in Geneva informed CERN that the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic would cease to exist on 31 December 1992 and that two new states – the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic – would succeed it as from 1 January 1993.

The letter states:

Timelines
Member states
1 October 1992

The Toroidal LHC Apparatus collaboration propose to build a multipurpose detector at the LHC. The letter of intent they submit to the LHC Experiments Committee marks the first official use of the name ATLAS. Two collaborations called ASCOT and EAGLE combine to form ATLAS.

Read the ATLAS letter of intent

Timelines
The Large Hadron Collider
1 October 1992

The A Toroidal LHC ApparatuS (ATLAS) collaboration proposed to build a general-purpose detector at the LHC, an idea born in the 1980s. The letter of intent was submitted to the LHC Experiments Committee, which marked the first official use of the name ATLAS.

Timelines
The ATLAS experiment
1 July 1992

Hungary

Timelines
Member states
26 June 1992

First experiment at the ISOLDE Proton-Synchrotron Booster.

The first experiment was carried out on June 26, where the beta-proton decay of the neon isotope with mass number 17 was studied. This experiment was relevant for the understanding of nuclear halo structure, first proposed at ISOLDE.

Timelines
ISOLDE
29 May 1992

The new ISOLDE PSB Facility has two isotope separators, a general-purpose separator with one magnet (GPS) and a high-resolution separator with two magnets, similar to the ISOLDE III design. The target handling in the facility is fully automatized with robots. 

Timelines
ISOLDE
12 December 1991

The first web server outside of Europe was installed on 12 December 1991 at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) in California. In 1993, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) at the University of Illinois released its Mosaic browser, which was easy to run and install on ordinary PCs and Macintosh computers. The steady trickle of new websites became a flood. The world’s First International World-Wide Web conference, held at CERN in May, was hailed as the “Woodstock of the web”.

Timelines
The birth of the World Wide Web
15 October 1991

The Fly's Eye Mirrors (Image: Courtesy of University of Utah)

On 15 October 1991 the HiRes Fly's Eye cosmic-ray detector in Utah, US, recorded the highest-energy cosmic ray ever detected. Located in the desert in Dugway Proving Grounds 120 kilometres southwest of Salt Lake City, the Fly's Eye detects cosmic rays by observing the light that they cause when they strike the atmosphere.

Timelines
Cosmic rays
15 October 1991

On 15 October 1991 the Fly's Eye cosmic-ray detector in Utah, US, recorded the highest-energy cosmic ray ever detected. Located in the desert in Dugway Proving Grounds 120 kilometres southwest of Salt Lake City, the Fly's Eye detects cosmic rays by observing the light that they cause when they strike the atmosphere.

Timelines
6 August 1991

On 6 August 1991, Tim Berners-Lee posted a summary of the World Wide Web project on several internet newsgroups, including alt.hypertext, which was for hypertext enthusiasts. The move marked the debut of the web as a publicly available service on the internet.

Timelines
The birth of the World Wide Web
1 July 1991

The first contacts between Poland and CERN were established in 1959 when several scholarships were awarded to young Polish physicists from Cracow and Warsaw. This soon developed into a wider collaboration between CERN and Polish institutes. In 1964 Poland became an observer state at CERN, the only country from Eastern Europe to accede to this status. In 1991, Poland became the 16th member of CERN, and thus the first member state from the former Eastern block.

Timelines
Member states
10 January 1991

In 1991, an early WWW system was released to the high-energy-physics community via the CERN program library. It included the simple browser, web server software and a library, implementing the essential functions for developers to build their own software. A wide range of universities and research laboratories started to use it. A little later it was made generally available via the internet, especially to the community of people working on hypertext systems.

Timelines
The birth of the World Wide Web
1 January 1991

On 1 January 1991, Finland joined CERN as the organization's 15th member state. The Finnish government ratified the CERN convention and deposited the formal accession papers with the Director-General of UNESCO on 28 December 1990. On 28 January 1991 a full delegation of Finnish politicians and scientists came to Geneva to celebrate the official hoisting of the Finnish flag in front of the CERN entrance. The Finnish delegation was led by Jaakko Numminen, Secretary-General of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Science, and Antti Hynninen, Finnish Ambassador to the United Nations.

Timelines
Member states
20 December 1990

À l’hiver 1990, Tim Berners-Lee définit les concepts de base du web, à savoir l’URL, le protocole http et le format html, et programme le premier navigateur et le premier logiciel serveur. Info.cern.ch était l’adresse du tout premier site et serveur web du monde, hébergé sur un ordinateur NeXT du CERN. L’adresse de la première page web du monde, qui rassemblait des informations sur le projet WWW, était http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html.

Timelines
L’histoire du CERN
20 December 1990

By Christmas 1990, Berners-Lee had defined the Web’s basic concepts, the URL, http and html, and he had written the first browser and server software. Info.cern.ch was the address of the world's first website and web server, running on a NeXT computer at CERN. The world's first web page address was http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html, which centred on information regarding the WWW project.

Timelines
The birth of the World Wide Web, Computing at CERN, The history of CERN
19 December 1990

On 19 December 1990, at noon, the beam from the Synchrocyclotron (SC) is stopped. At the end of the eighties the decision was taken to shut down the SC.

The ISOLDE programme should, however, continue at CERN and new facility will be built for an external beam from the Proton Synchrotron Booster

Timelines
ISOLDE
10 October 1990

(image: The basic principle of the RILIS technique: Two laser beams  tuned to transitions between atomic levels - blue and yellow arrows - excite the atoms and a third beam induces the ionization)

The traditional ion sources used at ISOLDE were based on surface ionization and ionization in a plasma. These techniques together with different target matrices gave a large variety of beams for more than 20 years. A major step in improving the purity of and the number of available elements came in 1989 with a new technique based on laser ionization.

Timelines
ISOLDE
13 November 1989

This photo was taken on 13 November 1989 at the inauguration of the Large Electron-Positron (LEP) collider. From the left, Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, King Carl Gustav of Sweden, CERN Council President Josef Rembser, President Francois Mitterand of France, President Jean-Pascal Delamuraz of Switzerland, Carlo Rubbia, Director-General of CERN at the time.

Timelines
The Large Electron-Positron Collider
13 August 1989

The OPAL experiment recorded the very first collision at about five past midnight on 13 August 1989 and the other three experiments followed soon after. The first fully-fledged physics run began on 20 September and continued for three months. During this time, the experiments each recorded around 30,000 Z particles, enough for the first data analysis to get under way.

Timelines
The Large Electron-Positron Collider
14 July 1989

Avec ses 27 kilomètres de circonférence, le Grand collisionneur électron-positon (LEP) est à l’époque, et aujourd’hui encore, le plus grand accélérateur de ce type jamais construit. Il se compose de 5 176 aimants et de 128 cavités accélératrices. La chaîne d’accélérateurs du CERN fournit les particules, et quatre énormes détecteurs, ALEPH, DELPHI, L3 et OPAL, observent les collisions.

Timelines
L’histoire du CERN
14 July 1989

With its 27-kilometre circumference, the Large Electron-Positron (LEP) collider was – and still is – the largest electron-positron accelerator ever built. LEP consisted of 5176 magnets and 128 accelerating cavities. CERN’s accelerator complex provided the particles and four enormous detectors, ALEPH, DELPHI, L3 and OPAL, observed the collisions.

Timelines
The Large Electron-Positron Collider, The history of CERN, CERN accelerators, The search for the Higgs boson
1 July 1989

Astrophysicists detected pulsed gamma-ray emissions from the Crab pulsar with energies that exceed 100 billion electronvolts (GeV). A pulsar is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation. The Whipple Observatory 10-metre reflector, operating a 37-pixel camera, was used to observe the Crab Nebula in TeV gamma rays. The paper announcing their finding was published on July 1 1989.

Timelines
Cosmic rays
12 March 1989

Tim Berners-Lee made a first proposal for information management at CERN in March 1989 (no exact date is given). A later version was written in 1990, but this early document is particularly interesting because it includes annotations by his boss, Mike Sendall, whose general comment was ‘Vague but exciting…’! The project eventually grew to become the World Wide Web.  

Timelines
From the archive
12 March 1989

In March 1989, CERN scientist Tim Berners-Lee wrote a proposal to develop a distributed information system for the laboratory. “Vague, but exciting” was the comment that his supervisor, Mike Sendall, wrote on the cover, and with those words, gave the green light to an information revolution.

Read the proposal

Timelines
The birth of the World Wide Web, Computing at CERN
8 February 1988

Les travaux d’excavation du tunnel du Grand collisionneur électron-positon (le plus grand projet de génie civil d’Europe avant la construction du tunnel sous la Manche) s’achèvent le 8 février 1988. Les deux extrémités de l’anneau de 27 kilomètres se rejoignent, avec seulement un centimètre d’écart. La photo ci-dessus montre une des équipes chargées des travaux, qui vient de terminer une section du tunnel entre les points 2 et 3 de l’anneau du LEP.

Timelines
L’histoire du CERN
8 February 1988

The excavation of the tunnel for the Large Electron-Positron Collider – Europe’s largest civil-engineering project prior to the Channel Tunnel – is completed on 8 February 1988. The two ends of the 27-kilometre ring come together with just one centimetre of error. The picture above shows a tunneling crew after completing a section of the tunnel between points 2 and 3 on the LEP ring. 

Timelines
The Large Electron-Positron Collider, The Large Hadron Collider, The history of CERN
30 January 1987

With US President Ronald Reagan’s support, American physicists begin in-depth preparations to build the largest particle collider ever. The Superconducting Super Collider (SSC) – a circular accelerator with an 87-kilometre circumference – is designed to smash particles together at 40 TeV centre-of-mass energy. This would make the accelerator far more powerful than CERN's planned Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Construction begins in 1991 near Waxahachie, Texas. To some, the existence of the SSC project puts the need to build the LHC into doubt.

Timelines
The Large Hadron Collider
11 June 1986

Juste après le Big Bang, l’Univers était trop chaud et trop dense pour permettre l’existence des particules connues, comme les protons et les neutrons. Leurs constituants, les quarks et les gluons, se déplaçaient librement dans une « soupe de particules », appelée plasma quarks-gluons.

Timelines
L’histoire du CERN
11 June 1986

Just after the big bang the universe was too hot and dense for the existence of familiar particles such as protons and neutrons. Instead, their constituents – the quarks and gluons – roamed freely in a "particle soup" called quark-gluon plasma.

Timelines
The history of CERN
1 January 1986

Portugal joined CERN as a member state in 1986. The Laboratório de Instrumentação e Física Experimental de Partículas (LIP) was created at the same time to carry out all activities related to experimental particle physics, involving researchers from universities as well as LIP’s own scientific staff.

Timelines
Member states
17 October 1984

The discovery of the W boson is so important that the two key physicists behind the discovery receive the Nobel prize in physics in 1984. The prize goes to Carlo Rubbia (pictured, left), instigator of the accelerator’s conversion and spokesperson of the UA1 experiment, and to Simon van der Meer (pictured, right), whose technology is vital to the collider’s operation.

Timelines
The search for the W boson
21 March 1984

CERN and the European Committee for Future Accelerators (ECFA) hold a workshop in Lausanne, Switzerland and at CERN from the 21-27 March 1984. The event, Large Hadron Collider in the LEP Tunnel, marks the first official recognition of the concept of the LHC. Attendees consider topics such as what types of particles to collide and the challenges inherent to high-energy collisions. The image above shows one proposal from the workshop – adding the LHC in with the existing LEP machine – that was later scrapped.  

Timelines
The Large Hadron Collider
13 September 1983

CERN staff and their families were joined by numerous distinguished guests for the official ceremony that launched civil engineering work for the Large Electron-Positron (LEP) collider project on 13 September 1983. Speeches by Herwig Schopper (CERN’s Director-General) and Presidents François Mitterrand and Pierre Aubert  were followed by an inaugural ceremony, then music and celebrations on the lawn.

Timelines
From the archive
13 September 1983

The presidents of CERN’s two host countries, François Mitterrand of France and Pierre Aubert of Switzerland, symbolically broke the ground and laid a plaque commemorating the inauguration of the Large Electron-Positron collider (LEP) on 13 September 1983.

Timelines
The Large Electron-Positron Collider
30 August 1983

CERN is a centre for scientific research, but also a place for exchanges between science and other fields of human culture and understanding. The visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on 30 August 1983 provided just such an opportunity. In the morning he and his delegation of monks toured some of CERN’s facilities, including UA1, where the recent discovery of the W and Z bosons had taken place.

Timelines
From the archive
16 June 1983

To maximize the use of the Synchrocyclotron (SC) beam time and to meet the requests from the growing physics community using ISOLDE, the ISOLDE collaboration decides to build a second isotope separator of ultra-modern design. The separator design uses a two-stage separation (one 60 degree and one 90 degree magnet) in order to obtain a very high resolution. The target is placed in the SC vault and after the second magnet, the ion beam enters the proton hall, which serves as the new experimental area.

Timelines
ISOLDE
25 January 1983

In a press conference on 25 January, CERN announces news of the discovery of the W boson to the world. The UA2 team reserves judgment at this stage but further analysis soon convinces them. From their results both teams estimate the boson's mass at around 80 GeV, which is in excellent agreement with predictions from electroweak theory.

Timelines
The search for the W boson
20 January 1983

En 1979, le CERN décide de transformer le Supersynchrotron à protons (SPS) en collisionneur proton-antiproton. Le succès du projet dépend d’une technique appelée refroidissement stochastique, qui permet de récolter suffisamment d’antiprotons pour constituer un faisceau.

Les premières collisions proton-antiproton ont lieu à peine deux ans après l’approbation du projet ; deux expériences, UA1 etUA2, commencent à chercher dans les débris des collisions des indices de l’existence des particules W et Z, porteuses de l’interaction faible entre les particules.

Timelines
L’histoire du CERN
20 January 1983

The tension at CERN becomes electric, culminating in two seminars, from Carlo Rubbia (for UA1) on 20 January 1983 and Luigi Di Lella (for UA2) the following afternoon, both with the CERN auditorium packed to the roof. UA1 announces six candidate W events; UA2 announces four. The presentations are still tentative and qualified.

Timelines
The search for the W boson
20 January 1983

In 1979, CERN decided to convert the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) into a proton–antiproton collider. A technique called stochastic cooling was vital to the project's success as it allowed enough antiprotons to be collected to make a beam.

The first proton–antiproton collisions were achieved just two years after the project was approved, and two experiments, UA1 and UA2, started to search the collision debris for signs of W and Z particles, carriers of the weak interaction between particles.

Timelines
The history of CERN
12 January 1983

At the Topical Workshop on Proton-Antiproton Collider Physics in Rome from 12-14 January 1983, the first tentative evidence for observations of the W particle by the UA1 and UA2 collaborations is presented.

Out of the several thousand million collisions recorded, a handful give signals, which could correspond to the production of a W in the high-energy collision and its subsequent decay into an electron (or positron if the W is positively charged) and a neutrino

Timelines
The search for the W boson
1 January 1983

The return to CERN as a member state in 1983 marked the renaissance of high-energy physics in Spain. In the same year, a special programme for particle physics was created within the framework of the Spanish National Plan for research and development. The continuation of the original programme serves today to coordinate and fund most of the experimental and theoretical particle and astroparticle physics research in Spain.

Timelines
Member states
20 December 1982

The first person outside CERN to be informed of the imminent discovery of the W boson is Margaret Thatcher, then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, who paid a visit to CERN in August 1982. [See a video of the visit]. During her visit Thatcher asked the then Director-General of CERN Herwig Schopper to keep her updated on the progress of the search for the carriers of the weak force, the W and Z bosons.

In a confidential letter dated 20 December 1982, Schopper wrote:

Timelines
The search for the W boson
10 July 1981

Carlo Rubbia delays his departure to the Lisbon High Energy Physics Conference by a day so that on 10 July 1981, he is able to announce that the UA1 detector has seen its first proton-antiproton collisions. UA2 takes its first data in December this same year.

Timelines
The search for the W boson
7 July 1981

The Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) accelerates its first pulse of antiprotons to 270 GeV. Two days later, with a proton beam orbiting in the opposite direction, there is the first evidence of proton-antiproton collisions. In August, the antiproton count reaches 109 and the UA1 calorimeter records some 4000 events. In October, the first visual evidence of the collisions is recorded in the streamer chambers of the UA5 detector (a precursor to UA2).

Timelines
The search for the W boson
22 May 1981

In the late 1970s physicists from CERN member states were discussing the long-term future of high-energy physics in Europe. A new picture of fundamental processes – unification – was emerging and the Large Electron Positron collider (LEP) would be the machine to study it. After a history built on proton accelerators, the idea of an electron-positron collider was a break with tradition for CERN.

Timelines
The Large Electron-Positron Collider
4 April 1981

Les Anneaux de stockage à intersections (ISR) produisent les premières collisions proton-antiproton du monde le 4 avril 1981, ouvrant la voie aux collisions proton-antiproton dans le Supersynchrotron à protons (SPS), et augurant l’obtention du prix Nobel pour Simon van der Meer et Carlo Rubbia.

Timelines
L’histoire du CERN
4 April 1981

The Intersecting Storage Rings produced the world’s first proton-antiproton collisions on 4 April 1981, paving the way for proton-antiproton collisions in the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS), and the Nobel prize for Simon van der Meer and Carlo Rubbia.

Timelines
The story of antimatter, The history of CERN
3 July 1980

Proton beams are injected and stored for the first time in the Antiproton Accumulator – a storage ring invented by CERN physicist Simon van der Meer where stochastic cooling produces intense antiproton beams. It took only two years from authorization of the machine to the announcement of first operation at the International Accelerator Conference at CERN, in July 1980. Within days, magnet polarities are reversed and antiprotons are injected and cooled.

Timelines
The search for the W boson
15 October 1979

Three physicists, Steven Weinberg, Abdus Salam and Sheldon Glashow, receive the Nobel prize in physics for proposing the electroweak theory. They believe that two of the four fundamental forces – the electromagnetic force and the weak force – are in fact different facets of the same force. Under high-energy conditions such as those in a particle accelerator, the two would merge into the electroweak force.

Timelines
The search for the W boson
18 August 1978

CERN issues a press release announcing the first storage of antiprotons. It reads: 

Antimatter, in the form of antiprotons, has been stored for the first time in history. 

This scientific first occurred at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, at the end of July during tests conducted in view of using the SPS European accelerator as a colliding device between protons and antiprotons. 

Timelines
The story of antimatter
29 June 1978

CERN physicist Carlo Rubbia pulls together a team to put forward a proposal for an experiment code-named UA1, for "Underground Area 1", since its location on the SPS requires a large cavern to be excavated. The team grows to involve some 130 physicists from 13 research centres – Aachen, Annecy LAPP, Birmingham, CERN, Helsinki, Queen Mary College London, Collège de France Paris, Riverside, Rome, Rutherford, Saclay, Vienna and Wisconsin.

Timelines
The search for the W boson
17 June 1976

At 2.2 kilometres in diameter the Super Proton Synchrotron is Europe's largest particle accelerator. Commissioning of the accelerator begins in mid-March 1976 using beams of protons. Then on 17 June 1976 the SPS accelerates a beam of protons at its design energy of 400 GeV for the first time. The machine is ready to supply beams to experiments.

Timelines
The search for the W boson
8 June 1976

At the International Neutrino Conference in Aachen, Germany, (8-12 June 1976) physicists Carlo Rubbia, Peter McIntyre and David Cline suggest modifying the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) from a one-beam accelerator into a two-beam collider. The two-beam configuration would collide a beam of protons with a beam of antiprotons, greatly increasing the available energy in comparison with a single beam colliding against a fixed target.

Timelines
The search for the W boson
3 May 1976

Le Supersynchrotron à protons (SPS) devient l’atout phare du programme de physique des particules du CERN lorsqu’il entre en service en 1976 et, le 3 mai 1976, le premier faisceau de protons parcourt les sept kilomètres de l’accélérateur. La photo ci-dessus a été prise dans la salle de contrôle du SPS, le 17 juin 1976, au moment où la machine accélère des protons à 400 GeV pour la première fois.

Timelines
L’histoire du CERN
3 May 1976

The Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) became the workhorse of CERN’s particle physics programme when it switched on in 1976. The first beam of protons circulated the full 7 kilometres of the accelerator on 3 May 1976. The picture above shows the SPS control room on 17 June 1976, when the machine accelerated protons to 400 GeV for the first time.

Timelines
CERN accelerators, The history of CERN
6 April 1976

New experiments are installed at ISOLDE II and placed at the three main beam-lines. The photo shows the underground hall UR8 on April 6 1976, which only housed experimental installations. The control desk could be found one floor above.

Timelines
ISOLDE
14 September 1975

A trip to China in September 1975 helped pave the way for increased contact between the scientific communities. Scientists from the People's Republic of China had visited CERN in July 1973, and the reciprocal invitation two years later included social and scientific exchanges plus the traditional group photo at the National People’s Congress Palace. The schedule underwent several changes, you can see a draft here.

Timelines
From the archive
11 November 1974

A Data Handling Division report by Philipe Bloch states:

Timelines
Computing at CERN
31 July 1974

Quelques mois après la signature de l’accord donnant le feu vert à l’extension du CERN sur le territoire français, les travaux du Supersynchrotron à protons (SPS) débutent. Deux ans plus tard, le 31 juillet 1974, la machine à forer de l’entreprise Robbins, qui creusait le tunnel du SPS, rejoint son point de départ (voir photo) après avoir percé un tunnel de sept kilomètres de circonférence, à une profondeur moyenne de 40 mètres sous la surface. Le tunnel passe à travers la frontière franco-suisse, ce qui fait du SPS le premier accélérateur transfrontalier.

Timelines
L’histoire du CERN
31 July 1974

A team photo celebrates the completion of the SPS tunnel in July 1974. The Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) was the first of CERN’s giant accelerators. It was also the first cross-border accelerator. Excavation took around two years, and on 31 July 1974 the Robbins tunnel-boring machine returned to its starting point having crossed the Franco-Swiss border and excavated a tunnel with a circumference of 7 kilometres and an average depth of 40 metres below the surface.

Timelines
From the archive
31 July 1974

A few months after the signature of the agreement giving the go-ahead for the expansion of CERN into French territory, work began on the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS). Two years later, on 31 July 1974, the Robbins tunnel-boring machine excavating the SPS tunnel returned to its starting point (see photograph). It had excavated a tunnel with a circumference of 7 kilometres, at an average depth of 40 metres below the surface. The tunnel straddled the Franco-Swiss border. More than a thousand magnets were needed to equip the ring.

Timelines
The history of CERN, CERN accelerators
11 March 1974

(image: The ISOLDE II experimental area)

In March 1974, the SC improvement programme is completed and the first beams are directed towards the ISOLDE targets. 

The intensity increase of the external beam up to 1 μA together with new target designs hold their promises and give a considerable increase in the number of isotopes available for experiments.

Timelines
ISOLDE
19 September 1972

(image: The Synchrocyclotron with the rotating condenser )

The Synchrocyclotron (SC) is shut down for a major reconstruction in 1972, called the SC Improvement Programme (SCIP).  An important part of the upgrade of the SC is to change the frequency system from one based on a tuning fork to a rotating condenser. The extraction system of the beam to ISOLDE is also improved, which means a beam intensity of about two orders higher can be delivered to the ISOLDE target. 

Timelines
ISOLDE
10 August 1972

Simon van der Meer at CERN writes a paper describing a technique he had first though of in 1968 to reduce the energy spread and angular divergence of a beam of charged particles. During this process of "stochastic cooling", the particles are "compressed" into a finer beam with less energy spread and less angular divergence.

Timelines
The search for the W boson
15 March 1972

See source.

Timelines
Computing at CERN
19 February 1971

The Super Proton Synchrotron is designed to provide protons at 400 GeV for fixed-target experiments. Construction for this underground synchrotron begins on 19 February 1971.

 

Timelines
The search for the W boson
10 February 1971

Seven kilometres in circumference, the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) was the first of CERN’s giant underground rings. It was also the first accelerator to cross the Franco–Swiss border.

Timelines
The history of CERN, CERN accelerators
27 January 1971

À la fin des années 1950, les physiciens savent que les collisions de particules auraient beaucoup plus d’énergie si les faisceaux entraient en collision non plus avec une cible fixe, mais les uns avec les autres. Les spécialistes des accélérateurs du CERN ont alors l’idée d’utiliser le Synchrotron à protons (PS) pour alimenter deux anneaux interconnectés, dans lesquels deux faisceaux intenses de protons seraient préparés avant d’entrer en collision. Le projet des Anneaux de stockage à intersections (ISR) est formellement approuvé en 1965.

Timelines
L’histoire du CERN
27 January 1971

The scene is the control room of the Intersecting Storage Rings (ISR) on 27 January 1971. Kjell Johnsen, leader of the ISR construction team, has just announced successful recording of the first ever interactions from colliding proton beams. It was a triumphant moment, not least because the ISR had been an ambitious and highly controversial project, with several years of heated debate preceding its final unanimous approval by the CERN council in June 1965.

Timelines
From the archive
27 January 1971

By the late 1950s, physicists knew that a huge gain in collision energy would come from colliding particle beams head on, rather than by using a single beam and a stationary target. At CERN, accelerator experts conceived the idea to use the Proton Synchrotron (PS) to feed two interconnected rings where two intense proton beams could be built up and then made to collide. The project for the Intersecting Storage Rings (ISR) was formally approved in 1965.

Timelines
The history of CERN
4 June 1969

Astronaut Rusty Schweickart’s visit to CERN on 4 June 1969 was a big hit. The auditorium was packed, and his talk on The Flight of Apollo 9 and the Future of Space Exploration was screened to other equally crowded rooms around CERN. Just three months earlier he had been the Lunar Module pilot on the Apollo 9 mission, which carried out a series of tests in earth orbit paving the way for the landing of the first man on the moon on 20 July.

Timelines
From the archive
8 April 1969

The CDC 6400 was upgraded to a CDC 6500 in 1969. This image, taken on 12 February 1974, shows a general view of the remote input/output station installed in building 112, used for submitting jobs to the CDC 6500 and 6600. The card reader on the left and the line printer on the right are operated by programmers on a self-service basis.

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Computing at CERN
1 February 1969

The Canton of Geneva bought the CDC 3800 from CERN, and installed it at the University of Geneva. At CERN, the CDC 3800 was replaced by a CDC 6400. 

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Computing at CERN
31 December 1968

At the request of the Spanish government, Spanish contributions to the CERN budget for 1964, 1965 and 1966 were reduced by 50%, 35% and 20% respectively. In a letter on 21 September 1996 to the Director-General the government asked for a further reduction of 35% from 1967 onwards. The CERN finance committee rejected the request.

Minutes of the CERN council, 19-20 June, 1969:

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Member states
9 August 1968

Summer at CERN means summer students – and a succession of distinguished speakers from within and outside the organization who share their knowledge with young scientists each year. This photo shows Nobel Prize-winner T. D. Lee explaining symmetry principles in physics to the 1968 intake.

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From the archive
19 July 1968

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!

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From the archive
4 March 1968

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.

 

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From the archive
17 January 1968

Dans les années 1960, la détection en physique des particules consiste surtout à examiner des millions de photographies venant de chambres à bulles ou à étincelles. C’est un travail lent, fastidieux, et inadapté à l’étude de phénomènes rares.

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L’histoire du CERN
17 January 1968

In the 1960s, detection in particle physics mainly involved examining millions of photographs from bubble chambers or spark chambers. This was slow, labour-intensive and unsuitable for studies into rare phenomena.

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The history of CERN
16 October 1967

(image: ISOLDE experimental hall. The magnet of the ISOTOPE separator, the collection chamber and the control desk were placed in the same area as most of the experiments.)

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ISOLDE
16 February 1967

At its 81st meeting on 16 February 1967, CERN's Finance Committee authorized the purchase of the CDC 6400 computer, a small CDC 3100, and four magnetic tape units. The costs exceeded the funds available in the 1967 budget by 7-8 million Swiss francs. In its next meeting the Committee recommended the use of CERN's own funds for the purchase, "only raising a bank overdraft if this is necessary to cover the cash requirements". 

The CDC 6400 was installed at CERN later that year. 

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Computing at CERN
10 August 1966

The 3800 was a member of the 3000 series Control Data Corporation family of computers, incompatible with the 6000 series machines. The 3800 had a 48-bit architecture. Its 64 Kword core memory was replaced by a faster, 800-nanosecond memory during its stay at CERN. This machine was eventually acquired by the State of Geneva and installed at the local University of Geneva. At CERN it was replaced by a CDC 6400.

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Computing at CERN
8 May 1966

(image: excavation work for ISOLDE underground hall in 1966)

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ISOLDE
21 February 1966

On 21 February 1966 the Swiss Postal Authorities issued a 50 centime postage stamp in honour of CERN. Five Swiss artists visited CERN and were shown around the site, then each presented two designs. The judges selected a design by H. Kumpel  showing the flags of the thirteen Member States of CERN superimposed on a bubble chamber photograph. The flags are arranged to represent the approximate outline of the Swiss border.

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From the archive
1 September 1965

En 1965, les chercheurs savent qu’à chacune des particules qui composent les atomes (électron, proton ou neutron) correspond une antiparticule. Par conséquent, si les particules assemblées en atomes sont les constituants fondamentaux de la matière, il est naturel de penser que les antiparticules, assemblées en antiatomes, forment l’antimatière.

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L’histoire du CERN
1 September 1965

By 1965, all three particles that make up atoms (electrons, protons and neutrons) were known to each have an antiparticle. So if particles, bound together in atoms, are the basic units of matter, it is natural to think that antiparticles, bound together in antiatoms, are the basic units of antimatter.

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The story of antimatter, The history of CERN
14 January 1965

The CDC 6600, made by the Control Data Corporation, arrived at CERN on 14 January 1965. It was the first multi-programmed machine in the CERN Computer Centre, with about 10 times the processing capacity of the IBM 7090. 

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Computing at CERN
17 December 1964

On 10 April 1963, a number of European nuclear physicists meet at CERN to discuss the isotope separator project. A first outline is presented in an internal nuclear physics division report.

A Working Party is set up and a series of meetings are held from May to September. In a memorandum dated 26 October 1964 the chairman of the Nuclear Structure Committee Torleif Ericson recommends the on-line isotope separator project to CERN and on 9 November the Working Party submit a formal proposal.

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ISOLDE
6 December 1964

The tradition of holding a Christmas party for CERN children began in the first year of CERN’s existence and still continues. In the early 1960s it was decided to hold two parties, so there would be room to invite non-CERN children from the neighbouring districts as well. In 1964 (on  December 6 for those with names from A to K, and December 13 for the rest) children aged between four  and twelve years old enjoyed a film, a conjurer and musical clowns, followed by refreshments.

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From the archive
19 October 1964

British physicist Peter Higgs, and independently Robert Brout and Francois Englert publish papers describing a mechanism which explains how particles could get mass. Higgs calls the hypothetical particle the "Higgs boson" in his paper Broken Symmetries and the Masses of Gauge Bosons, published on 19 October 1964 in the journal Physical Review Letters.

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The search for the Higgs boson
27 July 1964

In 1964, James Cronin and Val Fitch at Brookhaven National Laboratory in the US did an experiment with particles called neutral K-mesons, or "kaons". The types of kaons they chose to study can be regarded to consist of one half ordinary matter and the other half antimatter. They started with two types of kaon that had seemingly identical masses but different lifetimes. Kaons of the long-lived type exist for 5.2 × 10-8 seconds before each decays into 3 pions. Kaons of the short-lived type exist for only 0.89 × 10-10 seconds before each decays into 2 pions.

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The story of antimatter
25 April 1964

If you were one of the estimated 70,000 visitors to CERN during the 2013 Open Days – or one of the 2,000+ volunteers busily organizing visits, games and all manner of weird and wonderful activities – you might not recognize this photo! Fifty years ago CERN’s Open Days were conducted on a much more modest scale.

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From the archive
15 September 1963

The IBM 7090 was installed at CERN in 1963. It was about four times more powerful than the 709. The computer was connected to a device call a Hough-Powell digitizer (HPD) – a machine that scanned films from bubble chambers, measured important tracks, and sent the information directly to the 7090. A second device, "Luciole", was also connected to the computer, providing fully automatic measurements from spark-bubble chambers.

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Computing at CERN

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