From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

European Organization
for Nuclear Research
Organisation européenne
pour la recherche nucléaire
CERN official logo.jpg
CERN member states .svg
Member states
Formation29 September 1954[1]
HeadquartersMeyrin, Canton de Genève, Switzerland
Membership21 member states and 7 observers
Official languagesEnglish and French
PresidentAgnieszka Zalewska [2]
Director GeneralRolf-Dieter Heuer
Jump to: navigation, search
For the company with the ticker symbol CERN, see Cerner. For the rocket nozzle, see SERN.

Coordinates: 46°14′03″N 6°03′10″E / 46.23417°N 6.05278°E / 46.23417; 6.05278

European Organization
for Nuclear Research
Organisation européenne
pour la recherche nucléaire
CERN official logo.jpg
CERN member states .svg
Member states
Formation29 September 1954[1]
HeadquartersMeyrin, Canton de Genève, Switzerland
Membership21 member states and 7 observers
Official languagesEnglish and French
PresidentAgnieszka Zalewska [2]
Director GeneralRolf-Dieter Heuer

The European Organization for Nuclear Research (French: Organisation Européenne pour la Recherche Nucléaire), known as CERN (/ˈsɜrn/; French pronunciation: ​[sɛʁn]; see History) is a European research organization whose purpose is to operate the world's largest particle physics laboratory. Established in 1954, the organization is based in the northwest suburbs of Geneva on the Franco–Swiss border, (46°14′3″N 6°3′19″E / 46.23417°N 6.05528°E / 46.23417; 6.05528) and has 21 European member states. Israel is the first (and currently only) non-European country granted full membership.[3]

The term CERN is also used to refer to the laboratory, which in 2013 counted 2513 staff members, and hosted some 12,313 fellows, associates, apprentices as well as visiting scientists and engineers [4] representing 608 universities and research facilities and 113 nationalities.[citation needed]

CERN's main function is to provide the particle accelerators and other infrastructure needed for high-energy physics research – as a result, numerous experiments have been constructed at CERN following international collaborations. It is also the birthplace of the World Wide Web. The main site at Meyrin has a large computer centre containing powerful data processing facilities, primarily for experimental-data analysis; because of the need to make these facilities available to researchers elsewhere, it has historically been a major wide area networking hub.


The 12 founding member states of CERN in 1954 [1] (map borders from 1989)

The convention establishing CERN was ratified on 29 September 1954 by 12 countries in Western Europe.[1] The acronym CERN originally stood in French for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (European Council for Nuclear Research), which was a provisional council for setting up the laboratory, established by 12 European governments in 1952. The acronym was retained for the new laboratory after the provisional council was dissolved, even though the name changed to the current Organisation Européenne pour la Recherche Nucléaire (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in 1954.[5] According to Lew Kowarski, a former director of CERN, when the name was changed, the acronym could have become the awkward OERN, and Heisenberg said that the acronym could "still be CERN even if the name is [not]".[citation needed]

CERN's first president was Sir Benjamin Lockspeiser. The first Director General was Edoardo Amaldi.

Soon after the laboratory's establishment, its work went beyond the study of the atomic nucleus into higher-energy physics, which is concerned mainly with the study of interactions between particles. Therefore the laboratory operated by CERN is commonly referred to as the European laboratory for particle physics (Laboratoire européen pour la physique des particules), which better describes the research being performed there.

Scientific achievements[edit]

Several important achievements in particle physics have been made during experiments at CERN. They include:

The 1984 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to Carlo Rubbia and Simon van der Meer for the developments that led to the discoveries of the W and Z bosons. The 1992 Nobel Prize in physics was awarded to CERN staff researcher Georges Charpak "for his invention and development of particle detectors, in particular the multiwire proportional chamber."

Computer science[edit]

This NeXT Computer used by British scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee at CERN became the first Web server.
This Cisco Systems router at CERN was probably one of the first IP routers deployed in Europe.[citation needed]

The World Wide Web began as a CERN project called ENQUIRE, initiated by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 and Robert Cailliau in 1990.[13] Berners-Lee and Cailliau were jointly honoured by the Association for Computing Machinery in 1995 for their contributions to the development of the World Wide Web.

Based on the concept of hypertext, the project was aimed at facilitating sharing information among researchers. The first website went on-line in 1991. On 30 April 1993, CERN announced that the World Wide Web would be free to anyone. A copy[14] of the original first webpage, created by Berners-Lee, is still published on the World Wide Web Consortium's website as a historical document.

Prior to the Web's development, CERN had been a pioneer in the introduction of Internet technology, beginning in the early 1980s. A short history of this period can be found at[15]

More recently, CERN has become a centre for the development of grid computing, hosting projects including the Enabling Grids for E-sciencE (EGEE) and LHC Computing Grid. It also hosts the CERN Internet Exchange Point (CIXP), one of the two main internet exchange points in Switzerland.

Faster-than-light neutrino anomaly[edit]

On 22 September 2011, the OPERA Collaboration reported the detection of 17-GeV and 28-GeV muon neutrinos, sent 730 kilometers (450 miles) from CERN near Geneva, Switzerland to the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy, traveling apparently faster than light by a factor of 2.48×10−5 (approximately 1 in 40,000), a statistic with 6.0-sigma significance.[16] However, in March 2012 it was reported by a new team of scientists for CERN, Icarus, that the previous experiment was most likely flawed and will be retested by scientists of both the Opera and Icarus teams;[17] on 16 March, CERN stated in a press release that the results were flawed due to an incorrectly connected GPS-synchronization cable.[18]

Particle accelerators[edit]

Current complex[edit]

Map of the CERN accelerator complex
Map of the Large Hadron Collider together with the Super Proton Synchrotron at CERN

CERN operates a network of six accelerators and a decelerator. Each machine in the chain increases the energy of particle beams before delivering them to experiments or to the next more powerful accelerator. Currently active machines are:

Large Hadron Collider[edit]

Main article: Large Hadron Collider

Most of the activities at CERN are currently directed towards operating the new Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and the experiments for it. The LHC represents a large-scale, worldwide scientific cooperation project.

Construction of the CMS detector for LHC at CERN

The LHC tunnel is located 100 metres underground, in the region between the Geneva International Airport and the nearby Jura mountains. It uses the 27 km circumference circular tunnel previously occupied by LEP which was closed down in November 2000. CERN's existing PS/SPS accelerator complexes will be used to pre-accelerate protons which will then be injected into the LHC.

Seven experiments (CMS, ATLAS, LHCb, MoEDAL,[20] TOTEM, LHC-forward and ALICE) will run on the collider; each of them will study particle collisions from a different point of view, and with different technologies. Construction for these experiments required an extraordinary engineering effort. Just as an example, a special crane had to be rented from Belgium in order to lower pieces of the CMS detector into its underground cavern, since each piece weighed nearly 2,000 tons. The first of the approximately 5,000 magnets necessary for construction was lowered down a special shaft at 13:00 GMT on 7 March 2005.

This accelerator has begun to generate vast quantities of data, which CERN streams to laboratories around the world for distributed processing (making use of a specialized grid infrastructure, the LHC Computing Grid). In April 2005, a trial successfully streamed 600 MB/s to seven different sites across the world. If all the data generated by the LHC is to be analysed, then scientists must achieve 1,800 MB/s before 2008.

The initial particle beams were injected into the LHC August 2008.[21] The first attempt to circulate a beam through the entire LHC was at 8:28 GMT on 10 September 2008,[22] but the system failed because of a faulty magnet connection, and it was stopped for repairs on 19 September 2008.

The LHC resumed operation on Friday 20 November 2009 by successfully circulating two beams, each with an energy of 3.5 trillion electron volts. The challenge that the engineers then faced was to try to line up the two beams so that they smashed into each other. This is like "firing two needles across the Atlantic and getting them to hit each other" according to the LHC's main engineer Steve Myers, director for accelerators and technology at the Swiss laboratory.

At 1200 BST on Tuesday 30 March 2010 the LHC successfully smashed two proton particle beams travelling with 3.5 TeV (trillion electron volts) of energy, resulting in a 7 TeV event. However, this was just the start of the road toward the expected discovery of the Higgs boson. When the 7 TeV experimental period ended, the LHC revved up to 8 TeV (4 TeV acceleration in both directions) in March 2012, and soon began particle collisions at that rate. In early 2013 the LHC was shut down for a two-year maintenance period, to strengthen the huge magnets inside the accelerator. Eventually it will attempt to create 14 TeV events. In July 2012, CERN scientists announced the discovery of a new sub-atomic particle that could be the much sought after Higgs boson believed to be essential for formation of the Universe.[23] In March 2013, CERN announced that the measurements performed on the newly found particle allowed to conclude that this is a Higgs boson. [24]

Decommissioned accelerators[edit]


CERN's main site, from Switzerland looking towards France
Interior of office building 40 at the Meyrin site. Building 40 hosts many offices for scientists from the CMS and ATLAS collaborations.

The smaller accelerators are on the main Meyrin site (also known as the West Area), which was originally built in Switzerland alongside the French border, but has been extended to span the border since 1965. The French side is under Swiss jurisdiction and there is no obvious border within the site, apart from a line of marker stones. There are six entrances to the Meyrin site:[citation needed]

The SPS and LEP/LHC tunnels are almost entirely outside the main site, and are mostly buried under French farmland and invisible from the surface. However, they have surface sites at various points around them, either as the location of buildings associated with experiments or other facilities needed to operate the colliders such as cryogenic plants and access shafts. The experiments are located at the same underground level as the tunnels at these sites.

Three of these experimental sites are in France, with ATLAS in Switzerland, although some of the ancillary cryogenic and access sites are in Switzerland. The largest of the experimental sites is the Prévessin site, also known as the North Area, which is the target station for non-collider experiments on the SPS accelerator. Other sites are the ones which were used for the UA1, UA2 and the LEP experiments (the latter which will be used for LHC experiments).

Outside of the LEP and LHC experiments, most are officially named and numbered after the site where they were located. For example, NA32 was an experiment looking at the production of charmed particles and located at the Prévessin (North Area) site while WA22 used the Big European Bubble Chamber (BEBC) at the Meyrin (West Area) site to examine neutrino interactions. The UA1 and UA2 experiments were considered to be in the Underground Area, i.e. situated underground at sites on the SPS accelerator.

Most of the roads on the CERN campus are named after famous physicists, e.g.- Richard Feynman, Niels Bohr, Albert Einstein.

Participation and funding[edit]

Member states and budget[edit]

Member states of CERN and current enlargement agenda
  CERN members
  Accession in progress
  Declared intent to join

Since its foundation by 12 members in 1954, CERN regularly accepted new members. All new members have remained in the organization continuously since their accession, except Spain and Yugoslavia. Spain first joined CERN in 1961, withdrew in 1969, and rejoined in 1983. Yugoslavia was a founding member of CERN but left in 1961. Initially only West Germany was a (founding) member of CERN. Of the twenty members, 18 are European Union member states. Switzerland and Norway are not. Israel joined CERN as a full member on 6 January 2014,[26] becoming the first (and currently only) non-European member.[27]

As of 2014, CERN receives contributions from states with a total population of about 517 million people. Averaged across those states, the contribution per person in 2014 is about 2.2 CHF/year.

Member stateStatus sinceContribution
(million CHF for 2014)
(fraction of total for 2014)
Contribution per capita[note 1]
(CHF/person for 2014)
Founding Members[note 2]
 Belgium29 September 195430.52.5%2.7
 Denmark29 September 195419.31.6%3.4
 France29 September 1954169.214.0%2.6
 Germany29 September 1954222.918.5%2.8
 Greece29 September 195418.01.5%1.6
 Italy29 September 1954126.210.5%2.1
 Netherlands29 September 195450.64.2%3.0
 Norway29 September 195428.02.3%5.4
 Sweden29 September 195428.72.4%3.0
  Switzerland29 September 195440.03.3%4.9
 United Kingdom29 September 1954152.612.7%2.4
Acceded Members[note 3]
 Austria1 June 195924.42.0%2.9
 Spain1 January 198391.17.6%2.0
 Portugal1 January 198613.21.1%1.3
 Finland1 January 199115.31.3%2.8
 Poland1 July 199129.32.4%0.8
 Hungary1 July 19927.10.6%0.7
 Czech Republic1 July 199311.30.9%1.1
 Slovakia1 July 19935.50.5%1.0
 Bulgaria11 March 19993.10.3%0.4
 Israel6 January 2014[26]22.11.8%2.7
Candidate Member[note 4]
 Romania11 February 2010[32]7.90.7%0.4
Associate Member in the pre-stage to Membership[note 4]
 Serbia15 March 2012[33]1.00.1%0.1
Associate Members
 Cyprus5 October 2012[34] %
 Ukraine3 October 2013[35] %
 Turkey12 May 2014[36] %
 Pakistan19 June 2014[37] %
zaTotal Members, Candidates and Associates1,117.5[38]92.7%
zb European Union[39]1 July 1985[40]18.81.6%
zdOther income69.25.7%
zeTotal CERN1,205.5[39]100.0%
  1. ^ Based on the population in 2014.[28]
  2. ^ 12 founding members drafted the Convention for the Establishment of a European Organization for Nuclear Research which entered into force on 29 September 1954.[29][30]
  3. ^ Acceded members became CERN member states upon signing an accession agreement.[31]
  4. ^ a b Additional contribution from Candidates for Accession and Associate Member States.[31]


Associate Members, Candidates (note that dates are initial signature, not of ratification):

More countries have confirmed their wish to become members and are awaiting approval from the CERN Council:[47]

International relations[edit]

A world map highlighting the nature of relations of nations with CERN.
  CERN member states: 21 c.
  Accession in progress: 3 c.
  Declared intent to join: 2 c.
  Observers: 4 c. + EU
  Cooperation agreement: 35 c. + Slovenia, Cyprus, Turkey
  Scientific contacts: 19 c.

Four countries have observer status:[50]

  •  Russia – since 1993
  •  Japan – since 1995
  •  United States – since 1997
  •  India – since 2002

Also observers are the following international organizations:

Non-Member States (with dates of Co-operation Agreements) currently involved in CERN programmes are:

  •  Algeria
  •  Argentina – 11 March 1992
  •  Armenia – 25 March 1994
  •  Australia – 1 November 1991
  •  Azerbaijan – 3 December 1997
  •  Belarus – 28 June 1994
  •  Bolivia
  •  Brazil – 19 February 1990 & October 2006
  •  Canada – 11 October 1996
  •  Chile – 10 October 1991
  •  China – 12 July 1991, 14 August 1997 & 17 February 2004
  •  Colombia – 15 May 1993
  •  Croatia – 18 July 1991
  •  Cyprus – 14 February 2006
  •  Ecuador
  •  Egypt – 16 January 2006
  •  Estonia – 23 April 1996
  •  Georgia – 11 October 1996
  •  Iceland – 11 September 1996
  •  Iran – 5 July 2001
  •  Jordan - 12 June 2003.[51] MoU with Jordan and SESAME, in preparation of a cooperation agreement signed in 2004.[52]
  •  Lithuania – 9 November 2004
  •  Macedonia – 27 April 2009[53]
  •  Malta – 10 January 2008[54][55]
  •  Mexico – 20 February 1998
  •  Montenegro – 12 October 1990
  •  Morocco – 14 April 1997
  •  New Zealand – 4 December 2003
  •  Peru – 23 February 1993
  •  Romania – 1 October 1991. Since 12 December 2008 it has the Status of Candidate for Accession to Membership.
  •  Saudi Arabia – 21 January 2006
  •  Slovenia – 7 January 1991
  •  South Africa – 4 July 1992
  •  South Korea – 25 October 2006.
  •  Ukraine – 2 April 1993
  •  United Arab Emirates – 18 January 2006
  •  Vietnam

CERN also has scientific contacts with the following countries:[56]

  •  Cuba
  •  Ghana
  •  Ireland
  •  Latvia
  •  Lebanon
  •  Madagascar
  •  Malaysia
  •  Mozambique
  •  Palestinian Authority
  •  Philippines
  •  Qatar
  •  Rwanda
  •  Singapore
  •  Sri Lanka
  •  Taiwan
  •  Thailand
  •  Tunisia
  •  Uzbekistan
  •  Venezuela

International research institutions, such as CERN, can aid in science diplomacy.[57]

Public exhibits[edit]

Facilities at CERN open to the public include:

In popular culture[edit]

line 18 goes to CERN
The statue of Shiva presented by the Department of Atomic Energy of India.

Associated institutions[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "". Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ The boycott movement is losing the battle - for now
  4. ^ "CERN Annual Report 2013 - CERN in Figures". CERN. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  5. ^ "The Name CERN". CERN. 30 September 2011. Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "". Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  7. ^ " La". Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  8. ^ "". Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  9. ^ Fanti, V. et al. (1998). "A new measurement of direct CP violation in two pion decays of the neutral kaon". Physics Letters B 465: 335. arXiv:hep-ex/9909022. Bibcode:1999PhLB..465..335F. doi:10.1016/S0370-2693(99)01030-8. 
  10. ^ "Antihydrogen isolation". CNN. 18 November 2010. 
  11. ^ Jonathan Amos [6 June 2011]BBC © 2011 Retrieved 2011-06-06
  12. ^ CERN experiments observe particle consistent with long-sought Higgs boson | CERN press office. (2012-07-04). Retrieved on 2013-07-17.
  13. ^ "". Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  14. ^ "". Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  15. ^ "". Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  16. ^ Adrian Cho, Neutrinos Travel Faster Than Light, According to One Experiment, Science NOW, 22 September 2011.
  17. ^ The Associated Press, "Einstein Proved Right in Retest of Neutrinos' Speed", The Associated Press, 17 March 2012.
  18. ^ "CERN Press Release". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  19. ^ "CERN Website – LINAC". Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  20. ^ CERN Courier, "MoEDAL becomes the LHC's magnificent seventh", 5 May 2010
  21. ^ Overbye, Dennis (29 July 2008). "Let the Proton Smashing Begin. (The Rap Is Already Written.)". The New York Times.
  22. ^ "CERN press release, 7 August 2008". 7 August 2008. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  23. ^ "'God particle': New particle found, could be the Higgs boson, CERN scientists say". The Times Of India. 4 July 2012. 
  24. ^ a b c "New results indicate that particle discovered at CERN is a Higgs boson". CERN press release. Retrieved 4 September 2014. 
  25. ^ <Please add first missing authors to populate metadata.> (November 2004). "Red Carpet for CERN's 50th". CERN bulletin. 
  26. ^ a b "CERN Internationl Relations - Israel". Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  27. ^ Rahman, Fazlur. (2013-11-11) Israel may become first non-European member of nuclear research group CERN - Diplomacy and Defense Israel News. Haaretz. Retrieved on 2014-04-28.
  28. ^ "List of countries by population". 
  29. ^ ESA Convention (6th ed.). European Space Agency. September 2005. ISBN 92-9092-397-0. 
  31. ^ a b "CERN Member States". CERN Council website. CERN. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  32. ^ a b "Romania takes first steps to join CERN". CERN Courier. CERN. 31 March 2010. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  33. ^ a b "CERN Associate Members". CERN. 16 March 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  34. ^ a b "The Republic of Cyprus becomes a CERN Associate Member State". CERN press release. CERN. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  35. ^ a b "Ukraine to become Associate Member State of CERN". CERN press release. CERN. 3 October 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  36. ^ a b "Turkey to become Associate Member State of CERN". CERN press release. CERN. 12 May 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  37. ^ a b "Pakistan Becomes the First Associate CERN Member from Asia". Government of Pakistan press releases. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  38. ^ "Member States' Contributions - 2014". CERN website. CERN. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  39. ^ a b "Final Budget of the Organization for the sixtieth financial year 2014". CERN. 29 November 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2014. 
  40. ^ "Observers". CERN Council website. CERN. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  41. ^ "CERN International Relations - Romania". CERN. 3 April 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  42. ^ Andresen, G. B. et al. (2010). "Trapped antihydrogen". Nature 468 (7324): 673–6. Bibcode:2010Natur.468..673A. doi:10.1038/nature09610. PMID 21085118. 
  43. ^ "Vesti - Srbija zvanično postala član CERN-a". B92. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  44. ^ "Serbia expected to become CERN Associate Member". CMS Experiment web site. CERN. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  45. ^ "Decisions from CERN Council's 169th session". 13 December 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  46. ^ "Brasil fará parte do maior laboratório de física do Mundo". 13 December 2013. Retrieved 21 December 2013. 
  47. ^ "24 June 2011: CERN - CERN Council looks forward to summer conferences and new members". 24 June 2011. Retrieved 7 December 2011. 
  48. ^ "CERN International Relations - Slovenia". CERN. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  49. ^ "Russia officially joins CERN at last". 1 October 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  50. ^ "ISAAR relationship data at CERN library". Retrieved 14 December 2009. 
  51. ^ "CERN International Relations - Jordan". Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  52. ^ "CERN International Relations - SESAME". 17 October 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2012. 
  53. ^ "''Macedonia joins CERN (SUP)''". Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  54. ^ "Prime Minister of Malta visits CERN". CERN Bulletin. 10 January 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  55. ^ "Malta signs agreement with CERN". Times of Malta. 11 January 2008. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  56. ^ "Member states". CERN. Retrieved 23 May 2014. 
  57. ^ Quevedo, Fernando (July 2013). "The Importance of International Research Institutions for Science Diplomacy". Science & Diplomacy 2 (3). 
  58. ^ "Shiva's Cosmic Dance at CERN". Fritjof Capra. 18 June 2004. Retrieved 7 December 2011. 
  59. ^ Ramachandran, Nirmala (2000). Hindu heritage. Pannipitiya : Stamford Lake Publication, 2000-2002. pp. 41–42. ISBN 978-955-8156-43-8. 
  60. ^ Smith, David. The Dance of Siva: Religion, Art and Poetry in South India. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-52865-8. 
  61. ^ "". Youtube. Retrieved 20 November 2010. 
  62. ^ "Large Hadron Collider Rap Video Is a Hit", National Geographic News. 10 September 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2010.
  63. ^ "". South Park Studios. Retrieved 25 May 2011. 
  64. ^ "Angels and Demons". CERN. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  65. ^ Boyle, Rebecca (31 October 2012). "Large Hadron Collider Unleashes Rampaging Zombies". Retrieved 22 November 2012. 

External links[edit]