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CERN to celebrate International Women’s day

Geneva, 4 March 2010. On Monday 8 March, CERN1 will take on a distinctly feminine look as the laboratory celebrates the role of women in physics. Often seen as a male preserve, the reality is rather different, with women playing key roles across all areas of CERN activity.

“At CERN, and in particle physics the world over, talent is the only criterion that counts,” said CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. “Gender, race and religion have no part to play in finding the right person for the job.”

On women’s day, CERN will be sending a clear message to any young women interested in science and engineering that this is a field for them. In the CERN Control Centre, half the Engineers-in-Charge who take responsibility for operating the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator are women. In the experiments, in all CERN departments and in the management, women are increasingly represented.

For women’s day, CERN is encouraging its staff and users to enable as many women as possible to be on shift in the control rooms of the laboratory’s experiments and accelerators, to staff the IT helpdesk and to guide official visits.

“The fact that we can do this easily may come as a surprise to those who don’t know us better,” said Heuer, “but it’s no surprise to me. Curiosity, the main prerequisite for being a researcher, is a shared characteristic of all humankind and that’s reflected in the CERN community. Men and women from all over the world come here to pursue their research, and the diversity they bring is one of our greatest assets.”

The US laboratory, Fermilab, is also celebrating women’s day in similar style, and at 15:30CET, there will be a videoconference link between the two labs.

Full details of International Women's Day at CERN can be found at: http://cern.ch/womensday

CERN Contact

Renilde Vanden Broeck, +41 22 767 2141, Renilde.Vanden.Broeck@cern.ch

Fermilab contact

Elizabeth Clements, +1 630 840 2326, lizzie@fnal.gov

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Romania is a candidate for accession. Israel is an Associate Member in the pre-stage to Membership. India, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.