As the year draws to a close, I’d like to wish you and your families a very well deserved end-of-year break. It has been a momentous year in which we have made great progress across the board. The LHC truly came of age in 2016, exceeding many of its design parameters and, together with the whole accelerator complex, operating with a higher percentage of live time than previous CERN facilities despite its immense complexity. The accelerators’ performance was matched by those of the experiments and computing, and the significance of this achievement cannot be overstated.
Elsewhere, we have seen a range of fantastic results across the scientific programme at the Booster, PS and SPS, as well as in projects looking at the short, medium and long-term futures of the Organization. For the short-term future, Linac 4 reached its design energy in 2016, and the ELENA ring, which will increase the efficiency of the antimatter experiments significantly, is now being commissioned. The extension of the North Area has been completed and the hall has been handed over to the Neutrino Platform project. The LHC upgrade (LIU and HL-LHC projects) and the experiments’ Phase-1 and Phase-2 upgrades made excellent progress. The HL-LHC was formally approved by the Council in June. Looking further ahead, FCC and CLIC are working at full speed towards providing very important input for the next update of the European Strategy for Particle Physics, which will conclude in May 2020, and the newly established Physics Beyond Collider Study Group had its kick-off workshop. Looking further ahead still, the unique AWAKE experiment, which examines the potential for using proton-driven plasma wakefields to accelerate electrons over compact distances, saw its first proton beams this year.
Another highlight of 2016 has been the progress of the enlargement process. It has been very rewarding to welcome Romania as our 22nd Member State, and Cyprus and Ukraine as Associate Member States. We are also looking forward to India and Slovenia becoming Associate Member States in 2017 (in both cases, the accession documents are signed and awaiting final ratification by the respective countries).
There is much more to say about 2016, and indeed about what we have to look forward to in the New Year. To that end, I would like to invite you to the presentation that my fellow Directors and I will make in the Main Auditorium on Wednesday 11 January 2017 at 10.30 a.m.
Until then, allow me to thank you once more for your great work and dedication to the Organization, without which these and other accomplishments would not have been possible, and to wish you and your families all the very best for the festive season.
Fabiola Gianotti, on behalf of Frédérick Bordry, Eckhard Elsen, Martin Steinacher and Charlotte Warakaulle