Various "automatic programming languages" have been developed in recent years to simplify the preparation of the sets of instructions (or "programs") required for the solution of each specific problem on a computer. These languages were a big step towards simplifying the task of preparing long programs, but a change of computer, especially to one from a different manufacturer, still meant that a considerable number of alterations had to be made to the program. In particular, this left a number of problems in the exchange of computer programs between CERN and other collaborating laboratories.

In November, however, "CERN FORTRAN" was announced by CERN's Data Handling Division. This new programming language, a version of the FORTRAN series, allows programs to be run with only minor modifications on computers that otherwise use FORTRAN IV. Considerable work has been done to convert large programs into the new language and test them on both IBM and CDC computers. This experience has shown that, correctly used, CERN Fortran goes a long way towards making programs easily interchangeable between these computers, and it has been adopted for all programs to be used on CERN's new computer, the CDC 6600.

• Because English and French are the official languages of CERN, many readers have to be content with a journal that is not of their own tongue. As a very slight recompense for them, the following contribution, alluding to the literal translation of the word "antiparticle", is included in its original German form:


Schönheit vergeht:
                      Denn neben jedem Veilchen
                      wächst schon sein Gegen-Veilchen.
Zeit anch verweht:
                      Denn neben jedem Weilchen
                      bläst schon sein Gegen-Weilchen.
Raum auch zergeht:
                      Denn neben jedem Meilchen
                      läuft schon sein Gegen-Meilchen.
Ding auch zerweht:
                      Denn neben jedem Teilchen,
                      Ach Gott, da hockt sein
                                            Eilchen …

Gertrude Weisskopf.

• Compiled from "Last Month at CERN" pp166–168.

Compiler's Note

In 1964, Gertrude Weisskopf von Desch co-authored the book Das Wunder des Wissens with CERN's director-general "Viki" Weisskopf. The common surname appears to have been fortuitous. Who was Gertrude? Does anyone know?

And here is the December 1964 cover photograph as a reminder of winters past, we may not see their like again!