Feeds

CERN celebrates 50th birthday

I can remember when it was all gluons round here...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of CERN officially begin on 8 March, marking five decades of European co-operation in the search for the nature of matter.

The European Organization for Nuclear Research is best known for its fundamental probings into the very small, but CERN can also hold its head high in tech circles.

Tim Berners-Lee was at CERN when he invented the World Wide Web; and the organisation is now trying to develop uses for grid computing.

Since its foundation in 1954, CERN's membership has grown from 12 to 20 European states. It has been host to Nobel Prize-winning research, scientists have discovered neutral currents, sorted the anti-matter from the matter and created an entirely new form of matter - quark-gluon plasma – last seen just after the big bang.

Its impact has also been political. When the CERN convention was ratified, the founding members decided that CERN's mission should include seeking to help re-unite a war-torn Europe.

European states are now on better terms, mostly, but CERN's political function remains. According to CERN director general Robert Aymar. "It is no accident that many of the countries about to join the European Union are already members of CERN. Scientific collaboration has proved to be a valuable step on the way to collaboration at the political level."

Using a particle accelerator to find out about the inner workings of atoms has been likened to smashing a watch with a hammer and using the bits left over to figure out what it did before you broke it. CERN’s latest project continues this grand tradition.

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC) will be the world's largest and most complex scientific instrument when it is completed in 2007. Physicist hope that it will allow them to complete a journey that started with Newton's description of gravity. Gravity acts on mass, but so far science can’t explain why the fundamental particles have the masses they have. The LHC could provide some of the answers.

LHC experiments could also shed more light on dark matter and energy: visible matter seems to account for just five per cent of what must theoretically exist.

Jubilee celebrations start next Monday (8 March) with the launch of a Swiss postage stamp. (Those Swiss boys know how to party.) Other events to mark the birthday include an art exhibition inspired by science, a concert of classical music, and several public lectures and exhibitions.

More information here. ®

The Power of One Infographic

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Beancounters tell NASA it's too poor to fly planned mega-rocket
Space Launch System would need another $400m and a lot of time
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.