Snapshots from the early days

22 May 2014

A selection from the photo archives evokes the era when CERN was first established.

1952: The first meeting of the provisional CERN Council on 15 February 1952, with key people including Sir Ben Lockspeiser, Edoardo Amaldi, Felix Bloch, Lew Kowarski, Cornelis Bakker and Niels Bohr (at the back).






The letter to Isidor Rabi, dated the same day, tells him of the signing of an agreement to create CERN.






1953: The convention establishing the organization was signed, subject to ratification, by the representatives of 12 future member states, at the sixth session of the CERN Council in Paris on 29 June–1 July.

Could this be the first photo taken of the CERN site? Recently found in the archives, this montage shows the road from Meyrin as it crosses the border into France – now close to the location of the main entrance into CERN.

1953: The edition of 30 October of the newspaper La Suisse shows Albert Picot from the State of Geneva and members of CERN Council visiting the site of the future laboratory the day before. Geneva was selected as the site for CERN at the third Council session in Amsterdam in October 1952, and the choice was approved by a referendum in the Canton of Geneva in June 1953, by 16,539 votes to 7332.


1954: The Villa de Cointrin at the airport in Geneva was the first seat for CERN’s management and administrative offices. It is still visible through fences today.



1954: By November, the foundations of the machine hall and experimental halls for the Synchrocylcotron, CERN’s first accelerator, were taking the shape of a rigid “raft”.

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