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A collaborative adventure

There’s much to look forward to in 2014 – let’s make it another safe and successful year at CERN, says Director-General Rolf Heuer


At the start of a new year, I’d like to wish all of you and your families a happy, successful and peaceful 2014. It’s a year that holds particular significance for CERN, as on 29 September it will be 60 years since the organization was founded.

As CERN turns 60, it is still going strong, maintaining its underlying attraction of international collaboration for basic science. Since its foundation in 1954, it has grown steadily and this year begins well as we welcome a new Member State, Israel. CERN and Israel already have a long history of mutual collaboration and now we can look forward to increasingly fruitful scientific cooperation. Israel’s accession brings the total number of Member States to 21, and other countries are in the stages leading up to becoming Members or Associates, while still others are expressing interest. CERN is becoming a global success, while retaining its original, European flavour.

This year’s events for the 60th anniversary will celebrate the theme of international collaboration and, in particular, science for peace – a vision that lay at the heart of the founders’ wish to provide, in the words of the CERN Convention, “for collaboration among European States in nuclear research of a pure scientific and fundamental character”. While the main celebration at CERN will take place on 29 September, events will take place throughout the year in the Member States, emphasising that CERN is a collaborative adventure.

The Convention also stated that “the results of [the organization’s] experimental and theoretical work shall be published or otherwise made generally available”. This has always been an important feature of work at CERN, and this year starts with another important advance as the SCOAP3 open-access publishing initiative begins with the support of partners in 24 countries and the participation of 11 publishers of high-quality international journals.

What drives the huge collaborative effort at CERN is, of course, the science and the facilities – another key part of the Convention – that make it possible. We are now almost half way through LS1, the first long shutdown of the accelerator complex since the LHC started up for collisions in autumn 2009. The work of maintenance and consolidation across the various accelerators and their supporting infrastructures has proceeded at full speed since beginning in March last year. Many goals have already been achieved – some ahead of schedule. While the LHC itself will not start running again until 2015, this year will see the restart of much of the complex, with experiments beginning to run again at the AD, ISOLDE, the PS and the SPS.

It’s good to see such progress and I’m confident that it will continue while all those involved remember the by-words for LS1: “safety, quality, schedule”. Safety is of course something that concerns us all, as we’ll be reminded by the latest safety campaign.

There’s much to look forward to in 2014 – let’s make it another safe and successful year at CERN.