Meanings of CERN

European Organization for Nuclear Research (official name), commonly known by the acronym CERN according to abbreviationfinder, (provisional acronym used in 1952, which responded to the French name Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, that is, European Council for Nuclear Research), is the largest particle physics research laboratory in the world.


Founded in 1954 by 12 European countries, CERN is today a model of international scientific collaboration and one of the most important research centers in the world. It currently has 20 member states, which share funding and decision-making in the organization. Apart from these, 28 other non-member countries participate with scientists from 220 institutes and universities in projects at CERN using its facilities. Of these non-member countries, eight states and organizations have observer status, participating in council meetings.

CERN’s first major scientific success came in 1984 when Carlo Rubbia and Simon van der Meer were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of bosons. In 1992 it was Georges Charpak ‘s turn for the invention and development of particle detectors, in particular the multi-wire proportional chamber.


The European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) is a center whose experimental area is physics and its interest revolves around the origin and functioning of the Universe. Its largest project is the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) whose mission is to recreate the conditions milliseconds after the Big Bang that gave rise to the Universe 13.7 billion years ago.


CERN is located in Switzerland, near Geneva, and close to the border with France. It has a series of particle accelerators, among which the already dismantled LEP (Large Electron-Positron Collider, Large Electron – Positron Collider) stands out. Currently, the LHC (Large Hadron Collider, Large Hadron Collider), a proton – proton accelerator that will operate at higher energy and luminosity, has been built in its place.(there will be more collisions per second) 27 km in circumference and constituting the largest machine ever built. This increase in energy and luminosity is expected to lead to the discovery of the elusive Higgs boson, as well as to confirm or disprove particle theories such as supersymmetric or Technicolor theories. The first test of this was carried out successfully on September 10, 2008.

The success of CERN is not only its ability to produce scientific results of great interest, but also the development of new computer and industrial technologies. Among the first, the invention of the WorldWideWeb by scientists Tim Berners-Lee and Robert Cailliau stands out in 1990, but we must not forget the development and maintenance of important mathematical libraries (CERNLIB now called ROOT) used for many years in most scientific centers, or also mass storage systems (the LHC will store a volume of data of the order of several PB each year). Among the latter we can mention magnets of 9 T over several meters, high-precision detectors, highly uniform superconducting magnets over several kilometres, etc.

By the end of 2010, CERN officials announced that they had managed to produce and capture antimatter atoms for a period of more than a tenth of a second. This fact is very important for science since it opens a field that, at least in practice, was unknown and could provide energy without limits.


It is situated on the border between France and Switzerland, between the commune of Meyrin (in the Canton of Geneva) and the commune of Saint-Genis-Pouilly (in the department of Ain).

As an international facility, CERN is officially neither under Swiss nor French jurisdiction. The member states jointly and annually contribute 1 billion Swiss Francs (approximately €664 million, US$1 billion).

Managing Director

The general director, by scientific tradition, is appointed by the organization and has a term of office of five years, counting from January 1. The list of director generals that CERN has had is as follows:

  • Edoardo Amaldi, general secretary of the organization from September 1952 to September 1954;
  • Felix Bloch, from October 1954 to August 1955;
  • Cornelis Bakker, from September 1955 until his death in a plane crash in April 1960;
  • John Bertram Adams, acting director from May 1960 to July 1961;
  • Victor Frederik Weisskopf, from August 1961 to December 1965;
  • Bernard Paul Gregory, from January 1966 to December 1970;
  • Willibald Jentschke, director of Laboratory I at Meyrin from January 1971 to December 1975;
  • John Bertram Adams, director of Prévessin Laboratory II from January 1971 to December 1975;
  • John Bertram Adams, CEO from January 1976 to December 1980;
  • Léon Charles Van Hove, Director General of Research from January 1976 to December 1980;
  • Herwig Schopper, from January 1981 to December 1988;
  • Carlo Rubbia, from January 1989 to December 1993;
  • Christopher Llewellyn Smith, January 1994 to December 1998;
  • Luciano Maiani, from January 1999 to December 2003;
  • Robert Aymar, from January 2004 to December 2008;
  • Rolf Heuer, since January 2009.


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