China’s IHEP celebrates its first 40 years

The Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) in Beijing celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. Founded in 1973, it has grown to become one of the foremost research institutions in China, focusing on particle and astroparticle physics, accelerator physics and technologies, radiation technologies (mainly X rays, neutrons and positrons) and their applications.

In September 1972, China’s premier, Zhou Enlai, wrote to high-energy physicists Zhang Wenyu and Zhu Guangya, saying "This issue should not be delayed any further. The study of high-energy physics and the R&D of a high-energy accelerator should be one of the main projects of CAS." Less than six months later, IHEP was established in February 1973, with Zhang Wenyu, a noted physicist and Purdue professor (1949–1956), appointed as its first director.

The proposal for a high-energy accelerator came to fruition a decade later. In April 1983, the State Council officially approved the project to construct the Beijing Electron Positron Collider (BEPC). Deng Xiaoping and other leaders laid the foundation stone in a ground-breaking ceremony in October the following year. Four years later, on 16 October 1988, the first electron–positron collisions took place. Only a few months earlier, IHEP had established the first computer link with CERN via satellite – a VAX785 at IHEP became the first computer to be connected to the internet from China with the node BEPC2.IHEP.CERN.CH.

The beam energy of BEPC was in the range 1–2.8 GeV and the Beijing Spectrometer (BES) installed there focused on τ-charm physics. During its lifetime it collected large samples of J/ψ, ψ´, D mesons and τ particles, with notable results (CERN Courier December 2001 p6 and December 2002 p6). However, to meet the challenges in precision measurements in this energy region, a thorough upgrade was necessary. In December 2003, a double-ring design was officially approved and on 30 April 2004, BEPC shut down and the installation of BEPCII began (CERN Courier June 2004 p6). The new BESIII detector observed its first collisions in July 2008 and by May 2012 it was accumulating as many as 40 million J/ψ particles a day. Earlier this year, the BESIII collaboration announced the discovery of a new mystery particle (CERN Courier May 2013 p7).

IHEP is also involved in non-accelerator particle physics and astroparticle physics. Extended in 1994, the Yangbajing Cosmic Ray Observatory in the Tibetan Highlands is one of the four largest international extensive air-shower arrays for studying γ rays and cosmic rays at ultra-high energies. More recently, construction of the Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment started in October 2007. IHEP’s current director, Yifang Wang (APS announces winners for 2014), is co-spokesperson of the experiment, which attracted the world’s attention with its discovery of a nonzero value for the neutrino mixing angle θ13 (CERN Courier October 2013 p7).

The Beijing Synchrotron Radiation Facility (BSRF), constructed almost in parallel with BEPC, has been open to users since 1991. Following the upgrade to BEPCII, the machine runs with 2.5 GeV full-energy injection and 250 mA beam current when in dedicated synchrotron radiation mode. Three experimental halls house 14 beamlines for research in topics ranging from condensed-matter physics to environmental science. Similar multidisciplinary research will also be served by the China Spallation Neutron Source (CSNS) project, which was approved in September 2008. The ground-breaking ceremony for the project took place in Dongguan in October 2001.

Over the years, IHEP has also developed broad and strong co-operative ties with the international high-energy physics community. Important collaborations with Europe and the US currently include the ATLAS and CMS experiments at the LHC and the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer on the International Space Station. In addition, IHEP is a Worldwide LHC Computing Tier-2 Grid site.

'Israel at CERN' Industrial Exhibition inauguration

The "Israel at CERN" Industrial Exhibition was inaugurated on 2 October with (left to right) Emmanuel Tsesmelis, CERN deputy head of International Relations, Eviatar Manor, ambassador of Israel to the office of the United Nations and the other International Organizations in Geneva, ATLAS physicist George Mikenberg, Shai Moses, Economic Attaché of Israel in Geneva, and CERN’s director-general, Rolf Heuer.

New series of summer schools starts in Oxford

The First International Summer School on Intelligent Front-End Signal Processing for Frontier Research and Industry took place in Oxford on 10–16 July – the first of a new series of annual summer schools covering the complete signal-processing chain found in modern instrumentation. The aim is to focus on the most advanced technologies in the fields of semiconductors, deep sub-micron and 3D technologies, nanotechnology, advanced packaging and interconnects, telecommunications, real-time signal processing and filtering, and massive parallel computing. The participants studied many of the crucial challenges and issues of front-end detection and processing for building 21st-century frontier instruments.

Sixty young physicists and engineers from around the world – master’s and PhD students and young postdocs – participated in a programme of lectures and laboratory work. Technical examples were drawn from cross-disciplinary applications and ranged from exploration of the distant universe through medical imaging to the physics of elementary particles. This variety brought together a new generation of engineers and scientists from across the research communities, allowing them to get to know each other through training sessions that combined advanced technologies with frontier research. Worldwide experts from academia and industry gave lectures on technical developments and science overviews, alongside hands-on laboratory sessions with technology demonstrators, as well as masterclasses on related science and as a forum for discussions

The school began with an introductory examination of why is it essential to introduce "intelligence" at the early processing stage, followed by an explanation of advances in related cutting-edge technologies. The first day covered the main components of a state-of-the-art full processing chain and the technologies for designing and producing the front-end ASIC circuits. The next two days looked at silicon photomultipliers and then semiconductor microstrip- and pixel-based instruments. Silicon photomultipliers, microstrips and pixels are the technologies that are most used today in research and many applied fields.

The fifth day of the school moved on to the tools for real-time filtering, triggering and data selection at the front end and in testing conditions. The challenges of data transmission at the front end and related advanced high-tech solutions were then discussed and finally the seventh day looked at the tools for testing, characterizing and ensuring the performance of the demonstrators produced.

Participants also took part in social activities in and around the city of Oxford. These included a banquet in the ancient dining hall of Exeter College, evenings in traditional English pubs and an entertaining race around Port Meadow on the River Thames.

Building on the success of this inaugural school, the next will be held in Paris on 14–25 July 2014.

• For more information on the 2013 school, visit


On 27 September, Lithuanian minister of culture Šaruas Birutis visited CERN. As well as finding out about CERN’s collaborations with the arts, he also visited the LHC tunnel and the CMS underground experimental area.

The UK’s minister of state for trade and investment, Lord Green, of Hurstpierpoint (right) was welcomed to CERN on 1 October by Rüdiger Voss, head of international relations, who gave a general introduction to CERN’s activities. The minister then had the opportunity to visit the ATLAS underground experimental area.

On 7 October, Piotr Styczeń (left), Polish deputy-minister of transport, construction and maritime economy, Daniel Braun (centre), first deputy-minister for regional development of the Czech Republic, and František Palko (right), state secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Construction and Regional Development of the Slovak Republic, came to CERN. They visited the LHC tunnel and ATLAS underground experiment areas before signing the CERN guestbook.

Fidel Castro Diaz, scientific advisor of Cuban State Council, visited CERN on 14 October, accompanied by a delegation from the Permanent Representative of Cuba to the United Nations in Geneva. His visit included a tour of the underground experimental area of ATLAS and the LHC tunnel.