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)