School returns to Switzerland

31 October 2001


For the first time since its inception nearly 40 years ago, the European School of High-Energy Physics was held in Switzerland at Beatenberg in the Bernese Oberland. Running from 26 August to 8 September, it attracted 95 students from 30 countries. This year’s event was organized in association with the University of Bern, with Klaus Pretzl as school director. Funds for students from former Soviet Union countries came from the INTAS international association.

These schools have become a major event in the particle physics calendar. The tradition began in 1962 with a one-week course at St Cergue, Switzerland, for young students and senior physicists using the emulsion technique at CERN. The 1963 school also took place at St Cergue, but with the emphasis on physics rather than on techniques.

In 1964 the courses moved outside Switzerland and the programme was extended to include bubble chamber as well as emulsion techniques. By 1965 the focus had switched to teaching theoretical elementary particle physics to young experimentalists, where it has remained ever since.

International participation widened in 1970 when the school was held in Finland, in collaboration with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR), which is based in Dubna, near Moscow. The following year, JINR organized a school in Bulgaria, in collaboration with CERN, after which biennial joint schools continued up to and including 1991, when the last JINR-CERN school has held in the Crimea in the USSR.

With the changed political scene in Europe, schools continued to be organized jointly every year, but under the title European School for High-Energy Physics, and with a four-year cycle consisting of three annual schools in CERN member states and the fourth in a JINR member state.


In 1993 the first such school took place, appropriately, in Zakopane, Poland, a member state of both CERN and JINR. Since then the school has been held in Sorrento, Italy (1994); Dubna, Russia (1995); Carry-le-Rouet, France (1996); Menstrup, Denmark (1997); St. Andrews, Scotland (1998); Bratislava, Slovakia (1999); Caramulo, Portugal (2000); and Beatenberg, Switzerland (2001).

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