This week in 1957

A real blast from the past for the cern laboratory

Physicists at the CERN laboratory in Geneva are still scratching their heads this week regarding the apparent observation of neutrinos travelling faster than the speed of light, thereby contravening Einstein’s theories and perhaps even opening up the possibility of time travel.

Here at The Engineer we have the luxury of being able to travel back in time by way of our archive to October 1957 when CERN first started blasting particles around.

’After just more than two years of construction at the CERN laboratory centre at Meyrin near Geneva, the 600MeV Synchro-cyclotron recently began test runs at peak output energy,’ The Engineer reported.

Despite this, by the time it was built, two larger machines were already in operation at the Radiation Laboratory, University of California Berkeley, in the US and at the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research at Dubno, near Moscow.

’Since it became clear during the construction of the accelerator that a fairly large number of the experiments for which it would be suitable had already been carried out, it was decided to concentrate the research programme mostly on work requiring a high degree of accuracy,’ the aarticle continued.

Interesting then that the recent finding from CERN came from the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) rather than the Large Hadron Collider (pictured above). Size isn’t always everything, it seems.

In 1964, the Synchrocyclotron started to concentrate on nuclear physics, leaving particle physics to the much more powerful Proton Synchrotron. In 1967, it started supplying beams for a dedicated unstable ion facility called ISOLDE, which carries out research ranging from pure nuclear physics to medical physics. In 1990, ISOLDE was transferred to a different accelerator.