World’s largest machine builder turns 70

Jan. 25, 2024
CERN, maker of the Large Hadron Collider, celebrates seven decades

CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics and the world’s largest machine builder, is celebrating its 70th anniversary with a variety of events and activities will showcase the laboratory’s rich past, as well as its bright future. Leading up to an official ceremony on October 1, the preliminary anniversary program, spanning the entire year, includes an array of events and activities aimed at all types of audiences at CERN and in the organization’s member states and associate member states. The first public event, scheduled for January 30, will combine science, art and culture, and it will feature a panel of scientists discussing the evolution of particle physics and CERN’s significant contributions in advancing this field. On March 7 and April 18, special events will showcase the practical applications of high-energy physics research in everyday life. Mid-May will see a focus on the importance of global collaboration in scientific endeavors, while the events in June and July will explore the current unanswered questions in particle physics and the facilities being planned for future breakthroughs. From talks by scientists and exhibitions showing CERN’s research and the diversity of its science and its people to public engagement initiatives worldwide, the anniversary year will be packed with programming.

“CERN’s achievements over the 70 years of its history show what humanity can do when we put aside our differences and focus on the common good”, said Fabiola Gianotti, CERN director-general. “Through the celebrations of CERN’s 70th anniversary, we will demonstrate how, over the past seven decades, CERN has been at the forefront of scientific knowledge and technological innovation, a model for training and education, collaboration and open science and an inspiration for citizens around the world. This anniversary is also a great opportunity to look forward: CERN’s beautiful journey of exploration into the fundamental laws of nature and the constituents of matter is set to continue into the future with new, more powerful instruments and technologies.”

CERN came to life in 1954, in the aftermath of the Second World War, to bring excellence in scientific research back to Europe and to foster peaceful collaboration in fundamental research. This collective effort has pushed back the frontiers of human knowledge and of technology. As more powerful accelerators and experiments were built, foundational discoveries and innovations were made. Among others, Georges Charpak revolutionized detection with his multiwire proportional chamber in 1968, the neutral currents were discovered in the 1970s, the W and Z bosons were discovered in 1983, the precision measurement of the Z boson and of other parameters of the electroweak theory was made in the 1990s thanks to the Large Electron Positron (LEP) collider, the Large Hadron Collider started up in 2009, and the Higgs boson was discovered in 2012. CERN is also the birthplace of the World Wide Web and has generated technologies that are used in other fields, including medical diagnostics and therapy and environmental protection.

CERN includes 23 member states, 10 associate member states and a vibrant community of 17,000 people from all over the world, with more than 110 nationalities represented. Currently, the laboratory is home to the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. Building on its remarkable legacy of research and technological development, CERN is studying the feasibility of a Future Circular Collider.

“This anniversary year is for everyone and should engage and inspire scientists, policy makers and the public. We are looking forward to welcoming everyone at CERN for the many events being planned, but also to the celebrations in our member states, associate member states and beyond”, said Luciano Musa, coordinator of the CERN 70th anniversary. “These international events are a testament to CERN's impact on scientific knowledge, technological development and worldwide collaboration.”

CERN extends an invitation to everyone to take part in these inspiring events, which aim to kindle scientific curiosity, honor scientific progress and collaborative efforts and underscore the role of science in society.