CERN Press Release

CERN celebrates 40th Anniversary

On 29 September 1954 the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) was created when sufficient ratifications of the Convention establishing CERN* were obtained from Member States. CERN's goals were clearly set out in Article II of this Convention: "The Organization shall provide for collaboration among European States in nuclear research of a pure scientific and fundamental character, and in research essentially related thereto. The Organization shall have no concern with work for military requirements and the results of its experimental and theoretical work shall be published or otherwise made generally available." This established from the very beginning the innovative concept of open international scientific co-operation which has been the foundation of the Laboratory's success over the last 40 years.

CERN is now the world's largest research laboratory with over 50% of all the active particle physicists in the world taking part in over 120 different research projects. 3000 staff members, 420 young students and fellows supported by the Organization and 5000 visiting physicists, engineers, computer experts and scientists specializing in a variety of front-line technologies are collaborating with CERN from 40 countries and 371 scientific institutions. Binding together the creativity of so many different nationalities, backgrounds and fields of research has established CERN as the global centre for High Energy Physics and set a precedent in scientific collaboration which has been followed by Europe's other fundamental research organizations (ESO, ESA, EMBL, ESRF).

The CERN staff have been the architects of this success and the celebrations of the 40th Anniversary have been designed as a thank you to the people whose commitment over the last 40 years has established CERN's reputation. For the whole day of 17 September CERN will be turned into an open-air fair for all the Organization's employees and their families. The festivities, opened by CERN Director-General Christopher Llewellyn Smith, include rides in helicopters, on ponies, on a miniature train, circus acts and physics demonstrations by the University of Amsterdam, involving as much smoke, noise and theatre as possible. There are exhibitions of photographs covering the history of the Laboratory and of portraits of CERN's five Nobel laureates by Renato Missaglia. Classical, jazz, rock, brass band, bagpipe and hunting horn concerts continue throughout the day - folk dancers, conjurors and demonstrations of climbing and rescue techniques will animate the normally rather austere roads of the CERN site. Some outside groups have been invited for the celebrations but the majority of the activities have been organized by CERN employees. CERN 's scientists have revealed hidden talents as, magicians, musicians, singers, and even croquet champions.

The scientific side of CERN has not been forgotten - Hubert Reeves and Alvaro de Rujula will lead a debate on the "The First Moments of the Universe"; there are demonstrations of 'virtual reality' projects, models of the huge detectors for CERN's next accelerator - the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) - and an exhibition of the Laboratory's scientific achievements.

CERN's history is bound up with the construction of the large accelerators: the Synchro-Cyclotron (SC, 1957) and the Proton Synchrotron (PS, 1959) were followed by the Intersecting Storage Rings (ISR, 1971) and the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS, 1976). CERN's largest accelerator so far, the Large Electron-Positron storage ring (LEP), began operating in 1989. Existing machines are used as pre-accelerators for the next generation, meaning that major investments are exploited over a long period. CERN now possesses the world's most extensive interconnected system of accelerators and storage rings (see Appendix Highlights of CERN History). The LHC will be the first machine in the world in which quarks and gluons collide in the TeV energy range and represents the next step in High Energy Physics research. As CERN's first accelerators were catalysts for European collaboration, the LHC will set a precedent for a worlwide collaboration in physics research.

"Scientific research lives and flourishes in an atmosphere of freedom - freedom to doubt, freedom to enquire and freedom to discover. These are the conditions under which this new laboratory has been established"; these were the words written in 1954 by Sir Ben Lockspeiser, first President of the CERN Council. This is the atmosphere in which CERN has flourished for 40 years and in which the Organization looks forward to continuing successfully into the future.

* CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, the Slovak Republic, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Israel, the Russian Federation, Turkey, Yugoslavia (status suspended after UN embargo, June 1992), the European Commission and Unesco have observer status.

CERN - PR 11.94 (Annex)