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Back in the Day: CERN goes atomic

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Back in the Day: CERN goes atomic


On September 29, 1954, CERN was officially launched. The new European Organisation for Nuclear Research replaced a temporary body that had been in place for two years: the European Council for Nuclear Research. The French acronym of the temporary body, CERN, was kept, however. After the Second World War European research in the area of atomic physics was virtually non-existent, whereas in the years before it had reached dizzying heights. The aim was to understand the structure of the atom, which is where the term nuclear comes into play.

Today CERN, located near Geneva in Switzerland, is the largest centre of its kind in the world. In 2008 a unique particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, was launched.

(picture: Julian Herzog)

Other events on September 29: the 1st United States Congress adjourned (1789); the Metropolitan Police of London, later also known as the Met, was founded (1829); the capitulation of Poland to Germany and the Soviet Union (1939); following the bankruptcies of Lehman Brothers and Washington Mutual, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 777.68 points, the largest single-day point loss in its history (2008).

Born on September 29: former Polish president Lech Walesa (1943); former Chilean president Michele Bachelet (1951); Ukrainian football player Andriy Shevchenko (1976).

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