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Christopher Hartley’s and Rhodri Jones’s messages to the CERN community

Wed, 15/09/2021 - 12:38
Christopher Hartley’s and Rhodri Jones’s messages to the CERN community thortala Wed, 09/15/2021 - 11:38

2021 marked the start of a new mandate for the management team at the helm of the Organization. In this new video series, the newly appointed department Heads introduce themselves to our community, tell us about their journeys and provide their vision for the future of their departments. Christopher Hartley, the new Head of the Industry, Procurement and Knowledge Transfer department and Rhodri Jones, the new Head of the Beams department, inaugurate the series with their messages (below).

Before joining our community, Christopher spent twenty-one years working with the European operational satellite agency for monitoring weather, climate and the environment from space (EUMETSAT). Throughout his carrier, he has successfully managed major industrial partners and worked with large organizations such as the EU, ESA or the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

This video was recorded on 14 September 2021.  (Video: CERN)

Rhodri is not a newcomer in the laboratory: his PhD work on resonance ionisation laser spectroscopy led him to be tightly involved with CERN, from his debut as a research fellow in the Beams instrumentation group to a position of Group, then Department leader.


This video was recorded on 13 September 2021 (Video: CERN)

A launch pad for the next generation of technical entrepreneurs

Wed, 15/09/2021 - 11:53
A launch pad for the next generation of technical entrepreneurs Priyanka Dasgupta thortala Wed, 09/15/2021 - 10:53

On 27 August 2021, the CERN Entrepreneurship Student Programme (CESP) held its Demo Day, during which participating teams marked the completion of the intensive five-week entrepreneurial programme by delivering their final venture idea pitches.

This year marked CESP’s fourth run, in which five selected teams of technical master’s students from across the globe got a chance to work on and build their start-up ideas. Organised by CERN’s Knowledge Transfer group, since 2018 the competitive programme has helped 40 students develop their entrepreneurial skills through coaching from technology and business experts.

This year’s programme was held online due to the global health situation. Students joined in virtually from Canada, India, Mexico, North Macedonia and the United Kingdom, and developed five promising projects with the potential of becoming start-up companies in the future.

“We had only worked on the technical side of our project before joining. Thanks to CESP, we had a solid venture idea to pitch in just five weeks – I found it hard to believe! Thanks to the close mentorship and insightful lectures, we set and reached quite ambitious and specific goals each week.”

Maja Sharevska, CESP 2021 participant

On Demo Day, all the teams presented their final pitches covering a diverse range of topics: apps for the general public to contribute to science challenges, solutions for efficient energy storage, a platform to make getting job experience easier for college students, performance car trailers to facilitate transport, and even an oxygen-optimisation device intended to alleviate the acute oxygen supply crisis that many countries are facing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The teams were met with enthusiastic feedback, and they deftly fielded probing questions from the attending tech and business experts, including programme sponsor Jasper Van Zon from the Arconic Foundation. For an in-depth look at their ideas, watch the Demo Day recording here.

“Working remotely and together with scientific and tech entrepreneurs from all over the world showed us the importance of exchanging knowledge.”

Adolfo A. Romero, CESP 2021 participant

Since CESP’s launch in 2018, the idea behind the programme has been to train the next generation of technical entrepreneurs and help them solve global challenges. Students draw on the wide range of technologies and competences offered at CERN to tackle a problem they have identified and wish to address through their business idea.

In 2021, CESP was supported by the CERN & Society Foundation thanks to a generous donation by the Arconic Foundation. The highly competitive programme will be organised again in 2022. Applications for next year’s edition will open in 2022.

Environmental awareness: Participate in CERN’s “Tidy-up week”

Wed, 15/09/2021 - 09:59
Environmental awareness: Participate in CERN’s “Tidy-up week” thortala Wed, 09/15/2021 - 08:59

On September 18, 180 countries around the world will participate in the World Clean-up day, an annual social action with the objective of tackling the global waste problem. CERN will contribute to this effort by launching its own “Tidy-up week”, aimed at raising awareness about the need to reduce waste and properly sort recyclable materials.

CERN’s “Tidy-up week” will take place between 18 and 22 October 2021.  This first pilot edition will concern the following buildings: 5, 23, 24, 31, 54, 57, 73, 93, 104, 193, 288, 513, 561, 865, 904.

The event is carried out in collaboration with the respective Departmental Safety Officers (DSO) and Territorial Safety Officers (TSO).

What will happen?

People working in the buildings concerned are invited to identify and sort equipment and material that they no longer need in their offices, workshops or laboratories. This includes paper, metal, wood, glass or office furniture.

Please keep in mind the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) of waste management. The entire list of recyclable materials can be found here.

How does it work?

In the weeks prior to the event, experts will help the occupants of the concerned buildings to identify and decide the appropriate action (storage, reuse, recycling, etc.). The date of the visit for each building will be indicated on the dedicated webpage.

During the week of the event, skips and containers will be available close to the concerned buildings for the disposal of equipment and material. A transport team can help remove more voluminous objects.  In this case, a transport request needs to be filled in beforehand (the procedure is described on the dedicated webpage).

Your building is not on the list?

This event is a pilot, and more buildings will follow in the future. If you’re interested in joining the effort, please contact the coordination group at

Specific collection of IT-materials

In addition to this event, there is an ongoing campaign for the collection of IT-materials. Click here for more information on this campaign.


To protect your health and that of others please do not forget to comply with the COVID related health and safety measures, such as wearing a mask and proximeter where required.

This event is a part of the series “CERN’s Year of Environmental Awareness”.

Geothermal survey starting soon on the CERN sites

Tue, 14/09/2021 - 18:22
Geothermal survey starting soon on the CERN sites SCE department ccoman Tue, 09/14/2021 - 17:22

Since 13 September, the State of Geneva and the Services industriels de Genève (SIG) have been conducting a geothermal exploration survey. Geophysical measurements are being taken throughout Geneva Canton and neighbouring France, including on the CERN sites.

The aim is to map the subsurface in order to confirm its geothermal potential. Vibroseis trucks will spend six weeks criss-crossing the area. CERN has agreed for the measurements to be carried out on its sites during the nights of 18 to 20 September.

Sound waves will be sent from the surface into the ground every 30 metres and will propagate through the zone being measured. Their echo through the geological layers will be recorded by sensors, enabling the geologists to produce a 3D image of the characteristics of the subsurface.

This data collection and the resulting mapping are essential for both Geneva Canton and CERN, and will directly benefit many civil engineering projects, such as the Future Circular Collider (FCC).

The trucks' measurement points have been carefully chosen and agreed in advance and are indicated in orange on the site map (yellow dots = geophone locations; dots inside circles = soundwave application points rejected by the Organization). Each orange dot shows where a truck will stop and apply vibrations for one minute. The survey will cause minimal disturbance, as the vibroseis trucks are equipped with a new technology that reduces the noise and intensity of the vibrations that can be felt.

Launching Sparks!, the serendipity forum at CERN

Tue, 14/09/2021 - 17:42
Launching Sparks!, the serendipity forum at CERN Charlotte Lindberg Warakaulle thortala Tue, 09/14/2021 - 16:42

This week, CERN is launching Sparks!, the serendipity forum, a new two-day event aimed at stimulating creative thinking and generating new ideas relevant to CERN, and to society as a whole.

The first day brings together a group of global experts from many fields of research to share their insights into a challenge of common interest, which then feeds into a public event on day two. It is the first of three pilots that will lead to Sparks! becoming a flagship event in the programme at Science Gateway, as part of the effort to integrate the CERN spirit of innovation across all activities at our new outreach and education centre.

For this first edition of Sparks!, the focus is on artificial intelligence (AI) examined through the perspective of experts including computer scientists, neuroscientists, philosophers, ethicists and physicists. Each of these fields has a stake in AI, but it’s rare for all of them to meet. What happens when they do, we’re about to find out. The questions to explore are many and go to the heart of the challenge and the potential that AI presents for all of us. What do we need to do to ensure that AI develops into a force for good? Does AI need to mimic the human mind, or could a different approach be more powerful? Will AI systems ever become self-aware? Can they ever avoid assuming the biases of those who create them, and will they ever become cleverer than us?

Today, AI is both more mature and less mature than it appears in the public imagination. We are far from Terminator-like cyborgs, yet AI is increasingly ubiquitous in everyday life, from voice-controlled home aids to video surveillance. The potential for human advancement is vast, as Sparks! will expose, but, as with any new technology, we must ensure that it is used for the betterment of humankind and the sustainability of the planet.

Sparks! springs from CERN’s tradition of intellectual and technological innovation through collaboration across disciplines and geographical borders. One of the areas where this is perhaps most evident at CERN is in the way that tools developed for the physical sciences have been deployed in the biomedical arena. Young disciplines such as biophysics attest to the power of the kind of interdisciplinarity that Sparks! will foster.

At CERN, AI techniques are of growing importance in areas ranging from data analysis to controls and robotic maintenance. If you’d like to know more about this, there will be a webcast talk at 5.30 p.m. on Thursday, 16 September looking at how AI is employed at CERN today. The September/October issue of the CERN Courier also focuses on AI, and a series of Sparks! podcasts, available on the Sparks! website, give a fascinating glimpse into the thinking of some of the participants in this year’s event.

On Friday, 17 September, our assembled experts will discuss the issues surrounding AI, and their deliberations will be reported in a CERN Yellow Report and through an article in the journal Machine Learning Science and Technology. On Saturday, 18 September, you will have the opportunity to get a preview of what those publications will say at the Sparks! public event, which will be webcast live from the Globe – see for details.

I hope that many of you will join us to take a privileged look at what the future holds for intelligence.


CERN acquires four new buildings for the High-Luminosity LHC

Mon, 13/09/2021 - 18:14
CERN acquires four new buildings for the High-Luminosity LHC Thomas Hortala thortala Mon, 09/13/2021 - 17:14

Bad news for those of us who already struggle to find our way around the maze of CERN’s buildings: four new structures have popped up this summer. The JVMM (Joint Venture Marti Meyrin) and CIB (Consortium Implénia Baresel) consortia have handed CERN the keys of four new surface buildings intended to house infrastructure that will serve the new High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) galleries at Points 1 and 5, marking the end of “SC3” (Sectional Completion 3).

The “SF” and “SHM” buildings at Point 5, which were delivered at the end of June, are identical in every way to – and fulfil the same purpose as – the buildings bearing the same names at Point 1, which were delivered at the beginning of September. Currently all empty, the four concrete giants will receive delivery of their first equipment (travelling cranes, doors, electricity, lighting and ventilation, etc.) in the coming weeks, and the HL-LHC infrastructure will come in a second stage.

The two SF buildings will mainly house cooling towers and primary water circulation pumps for cooling surface and underground equipment. The SHM buildings will house the cycle compressors for the cryogenic cooling systems. These machines compress helium from 1 bar to just over 20 bars (successive expansions of this compressed helium in the cold box then produce the cold needed to cool the underground systems).

Even though they are empty, the new buildings already have certain unique characteristics. The floors of the two SHM are entirely coated with waterproof resin, preventing any environmental contamination by potential leaks of the compressor lubricant oil. In addition, the walls are soundproofed to protect our ears from the compressors’ droning, which can reach 105 decibels.

The four buildings, two on each of the CERN sites, are located at either end of their future respective gallery chains, via which they will be connected to the SU, SD and SE service buildings, themselves connected to underground galleries. The galleries will be delivered as part of “SC5”, scheduled for the end of 2022, which will bring the HL-LHC project’s major civil engineering work to a close.

With SC3 out of the way, that’s the next focus for many of the teams involved in these mammoth undertakings (the SCE-PPM group’s civil engineering team, contractors and design offices). While the scale of the SC3 buildings may seem small compared to that of the vast underground galleries, building them on schedule is nevertheless a crucial milestone in the HL-LHC project.

5-yearly review: an important milestone

Mon, 13/09/2021 - 16:07
5-yearly review: an important milestone HR department thortala Mon, 09/13/2021 - 15:07

Since the last Bulletin update in February, an important milestone was passed in the context of the five-yearly review[1] (5YR) when the conclusions of key documents were presented at the Tripartite Employment Conditions Forum on 28 May 2021.

Following the methodology set out in Annex A1 of the Staff Rules and Regulations, studies and surveys of the financial and social conditions of CERN personnel have been undertaken to ascertain, firstly, whether the Organization remains an attractive employer for Staff and Fellows from all CERN’s Member and Associate Member States and, secondly, whether it is able to offer adequate conditions to Associated Members of Personnel (MPAs) coming to work for limited periods in its research facilities.

Staff salary studies are a mandatory part of the 5YR and are preceded by an analysis of CERN’s main recruitment markets over the past five years. As provided for by the Annex A1 methodology, these studies involve benchmarking ‘local’ and ‘international’ salaries in order to compare CERN salaries, through a representative sample of benchmark jobs across all grades, with the respective local[2] and international markets.

The local salary survey, covering grades 1 to 3, was performed by a local consultant and concluded that the companies offering the most competitive salaries are located in Geneva and Vaud, where salaries are, on average, 8% below CERN’s reference salaries.

The international salary survey, covering grades 4 to 10, was performed by the International Service for Remunerations and Pensions (ISRP), which is administratively attached to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). An analysis conducted by the HR department in preparation of the 5YR in 2020 identified the high-technology private sector as CERN’s main recruitment market. The ISRP then identified Switzerland and Germany as the CERN Member States offering the most competitive salaries in that domain. The main conclusion of the ISRP survey is that, overall, salaries in the Swiss high-technology market are approximately 9% above CERN salaries, whereas CERN is approximately 5% above the German high-technology market.

Given the breadth and diversity of the salary surveys and of the process in general, the HR department is currently compiling a dedicated webpage, for future publication, to guide and inform you on the details and conclusions of this key aspect of the 5YR.

Fellows’ stipends were compared with similar graduate programmes at ESA, ESO, the European Commission, DESY and EMBL. The analysis concluded that the conditions offered by CERN continue to be attractive, and are indeed somewhat higher than those paid by the comparator organisations.

For MPAs, the subsistence allowances have been consistently indexed to the cost of living in the local region.

Finally, the ISRP was mandated to conduct a diversity and inclusion benchmarking survey of CERN and eight other organisations: EMBL, EPO, ESO, ESA, EC, ITER, UNOG and OPCW. The findings of this survey, covering topics such as contract type, age, family, gender diversity, spouse employment, teleworking and disability measures, were presented to TREF in March. The report showed that CERN is doing very well in certain areas, such as childcare and some of the diversity-related policies stemming from the previous 5YR, but identified other areas where further improvement is desirable, such as gender diversity, the telework framework, flexible working hours, co-parenting leave and dual-career opportunities. The Management, in collaboration with the Staff Association, is fully committed to following up on the results of this survey to ensure that diversity and inclusion are not limited to actions once every five years, but are under continuous review.

As we enter the final stages of the 5YR process, based on the aforementioned analyses and the corresponding conclusions, the Management’s proposals are now under preparation, in concertation with the Staff Association, and will be submitted to TREF in October and to the Council for approval in December.

As this extensive exercise nears completion, we will be sure to report back to you on the latest developments.

[1] For full details of the 2021 5YR, its scope, timescales and milestones see:

[2] For the local salary survey data are collected in the local region of the Organization (Geneva, Vaud and neighbouring France).

Computer security: Privacy vs security – a double dilemma

Mon, 13/09/2021 - 12:10
Computer security: Privacy vs security – a double dilemma Computer Security team thortala Mon, 09/13/2021 - 11:10

In this increasingly digitalised world, privacy was initially neglected for some time, but is now gathering speed. The internet was the no-privacy Wild West, with big social media outlets, advertising companies and government agencies trying to gather whatever was legally (and sometimes even illegally) possible. People, however, are becoming more and more aware of the privacy implications of using the internet and, fortunately, tools do exist to improve the privacy of online browsing. With such tools in place, however, it also becomes more and more difficult to protect an organisation like CERN against remote attacks and user blunder. –

Privacy is important. The amount of data that online giants have collected about us is staggering. Standard web browsing is, by design, leaving traces (you can check these traces on sites like – best with sound on). Embedded “like” buttons and similar third party content make it possible to gather even more information. And even if you have enabled browser privacy add-ons like “Ghostery”, “Privacy Badger”, “uBlock”, “DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials”, etc., certain of your computer’s parameters and features (operating system, time zone, local language, screen size and color depth, fonts, browser plugins, touch support) still provide sufficient entropy to identify your device among millions of others (check out yours at In a particularly frightening example, an activist group was able to reconstruct the life of a volunteer based only on her Google-stored search history and metadata (

In order to protect your privacy, the use of so-called “secured” protocols like HTTPS, SSH and VPN help in shielding all your communication from eavesdropping by third parties. In addition, Mozilla, Apple and others have proposed and implemented new and more sophisticated (but also intrusive) measures to stop people spying on your network traffic:

  • Mozilla, in collaboration with Cloudflare, provides a browser option to funnel all your DNS requests, i.e. the task of resolving an IP address to a domain name and vice versa, via HTTPS to their DNS servers (“DNS-over-HTTPS” or, for short, “DoH”) instead of using local ones. Google offers the same through their DNS resolver. This prevents third parties (other than Cloudflare or Google, of course) collecting the domain names your device wanted to access.
  • Some other companies have started to randomise so-called MAC addresses, i.e. the normally unique IDs of every device ( These “Private Wi-Fi addresses” (term used by Apple) hinder Wi-Fi infrastructure providers’ efforts to trace a device, as the unique identifier is now randomised and varies often.
  • Just recently, Apple introduced “iCloud Private Relay” (, which spawns a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to Apple’s servers in order to hide local IP addresses and stop any traffic being exposed to third parties.

Dilemma 1. You face a dilemma, however, as DoH, VPN, and “iCloud Private Relay” might not work when connecting CERN-internal services, as those measures tunnel to outside CERN. Similarly when using “Private Wi-Fi addresses”, as by changing quickly they prevent your device from connecting to CERN’s Wi-Fi network. The CERN Wi-Fi network requires a permanent, fixed MAC address (hence, please disable this feature in the Wi-Fi settings for the CERN network (“CERN SSID”)).

Dilemma 2. The CERN Computer Security team faces a dilemma, too. While we value your privacy, all of these privacy measures hinder our efforts to do our job, namely to protect the Organization and to protect your devices against any kind of cyberattack. With secured channels – HTTPS, VPN, DoH – we are less able to detect whether your device is connecting to some malicious domains, being redirected to spooky websites or downloading data with dangerous contents. And being blind conflicts directly with our objective to keep your device, and the Organization, secure.

Hence, while we continue to encourage you to use HTTPS, SSH and VPN (as a client at CERN; see also our Bulletin articles on VPN tunnels, “Tunnel Madness”;, please refrain from using DoH and Apple’s “iCloud Private Replay” while on the CERN network for the sake of the general protection of the network and its attached devices. If this does not work, we will have to consider blocking these features (but would first need to better understand the collateral damage), and we prefer not to.

Do you want to learn more about computer security incidents and issues at CERN? Follow our Monthly Report ( For further information, questions or help, check our website ( or contact us at

Give your IT equipment a second life and reduce waste

Fri, 10/09/2021 - 16:34
Give your IT equipment a second life and reduce waste ccoman Fri, 09/10/2021 - 15:34

18 September is World Clean-up Day. This is the perfect opportunity to join the ongoing SCE recycling campaign and to take action on waste by respecting the three Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle.

The Storage, Recuperation and Sales service, part of the Site and Civil Engineering (SCE) department, is running a campaign to collect broken, obsolete or unused IT equipment. As part of the overall objective of reducing waste, the service will either give them a new lease of life or recycle them properly.

Whether you choose to seize the opportunity of World Clean-up Day, or indeed of “Tidy-up Week”, to sort out your desk drawers or you prefer to wait for a more convenient date, remember that computer equipment that is no longer in use should be recycled.

Simply bring your no-longer-used computer, IT equipment (workstations, laptops, mice, smartphones, screens, peripherals, batteries, cables, hardware, etc.) or printers, regardless of their condition, to Building 133. You can also contact the Storage, Recuperation and Sales service or your group secretary to find out who is the departmental contact person who can help you dispose of your old equipment.

Having a sort-out is good for the mind and promotes well-being.

Recycling is good for the planet and our future.

Computer equipment recycling and refurbishing is an important part of our Organization’s sustainable waste strategy. Thanks to this campaign, no-longer-used equipment will be properly wiped and recycled, or potentially repaired and reused. Get involved!

Two CERN scientists give the primary schools’ challenge a go

Fri, 10/09/2021 - 12:01
Two CERN scientists give the primary schools’ challenge a go cagrigor Fri, 09/10/2021 - 11:01 Used to making precise measurements, will Pippa Wells and Sabrina Schadegg be able to figure out what’s inside the mysterious boxes? (Image: CERN)

Since 2011, schools from Geneva, the Pays de Gex and Haute-Savoie have been receiving strange mystery boxes from CERN. The pupils, aged between 8 and 12, make hypotheses, collect data and use evidence as they set out to identify the contents of the boxes without opening or damaging them.

As the Be a Scientist project celebrates its 10th anniversary, the tables have been turned, as primary-school pupils set a challenge for CERN – and the clock is ticking!

In the utmost secrecy, pupils from Jean de la Fontaine school (Prévessin-Moëns, France) and Cérésole school (Petit-Lancy, Switzerland) have hidden various objects in two boxes that, they hope, will flummox the scientists and keep them busy for the next six months!

After receiving the boxes, Pippa Wells (Deputy Director for Research and Computing) and Sabrina Schadegg (environmental engineer) started their investigations in the radiation protection calibration laboratory of CERN’s HSE unit in Prévessin-Moëns.

While they didn’t identify any particular smells, they did hear some intriguing sounds. Moreover, the French box lost 23 grams in two weeks! What could have evaporated? Something containing water? Maybe Katy Foraz and Andre Henriques will discover what it is in the next episode of the Schools’ challenge!

Pippa and Sabrina receive mystery boxes and start investigating (Video: CERN)

Visit the website for regular updates on the challenge and to read more about the progress of the investigations being conducted by the CERN community.

10th edition of CineGlobe continues online

Wed, 08/09/2021 - 18:10
10th edition of CineGlobe continues online thortala Wed, 09/08/2021 - 17:10

Despite the exceptional circumstances, three reschedulings and only 20% of the usual venue capacity, more than 1300 visitors turned up – in person or online – for the 10th edition of CineGlobe.

Over five days, festival visitors to CERN’s Globe of Science and Innovation enjoyed a variety of activities: short and feature film screenings (including some preview screenings, such as that of the science documentary Ghost Particle from director Geneva Guerin); masterclasses by experts in cinematography; virtual reality experiences; and hands-on workshops to discover the basics of photography.

During the awards ceremony on Saturday 28 August, the winners of the jury prize for each category – best fiction, best documentary and best youth film – were announced. The winner of the audience prize will be announced soon.

Didn’t get the chance to attend in person? Watch and vote online for the audience prize!

If you want to watch the winning films or any of the other shorts screened at CineGlobe 2021, visit the website for free until 23 September. And don’t forget to vote for your favourite film!

All photos from the event are available at:

“Lightning talks” bring CERN openlab’s first-ever full online summer-student programme to a close

Wed, 08/09/2021 - 17:47
“Lightning talks” bring CERN openlab’s first-ever full online summer-student programme to a close Andrew Purcell thortala Wed, 09/08/2021 - 16:47

The 2021 CERN openlab summer students presented their creative and inspiring work in a series of five-minute “lightning talks” held on 6 and 7 September.

Each year, CERN openlab runs its summer-student programme over nine weeks from July to September. Students from across the globe work on innovative IT projects, guided by experts at CERN. Thanks to the companies participating in the CERN openlab public–private partnership, the students work hands-on with cutting-edge computing technologies. Today, the participating companies are as follows: Intel, Oracle, Siemens, Micron, Google, be ys Research, IBM, E4 Computer Engineering, Cambridge Quantum Computing, Comtrade and Open Systems (in addition to CERN openlab’s research members).

This year, the students’ projects addressed challenges related to quantum computing, cloud, machine learning, high-performance computing and much more. All the work for this year’s programme was carried out remotely because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, CERN openlab was still able to offer the usual programme of exciting lectures from IT experts at CERN. Recordings of all the lectures are now available online and are free to view.

Some 27 students from 15 countries participated in this year’s programme. “Working with CERN openlab has been an invaluable experience,” says Mehant Kammakomati, a student at NIT Andhra Pradesh in India. “Collaborating remotely across continents has been very enriching.”

The students also took part in virtual visits of different parts of the Laboratory. In addition, many of the students participated in the CERN Webfest, an online hackathon held in August. Mehdi Golbaz, a CERN openlab summer student from India, was a member of the winning team at the Webfest. He and his colleagues combined crowdsourced design and 3D printing to create tools to help people with disabilities.

While a wide range of activities and lectures are on offer, the students’ projects remain the core of the programme. The lightning talks always provide an excellent overview of the hard work carried out by the students. This year was no different: across the two days, participants at the event learned about the challenges faced by the students and the innovative solutions they dreamed up to overcome them.

The members of the CERN openlab management team were impressed by the high quality of the presentations. Together, they highlighted the following five projects as particularly meritorious:

These students will each receive a small package of CERN-themed prizes in recognition of their excellent presentations.

“Working for a world-class research organisation like CERN enabled me to hone both my analytical and creative skills,” says Rodrigo Bermúdez Schettino, a student at Technische Universität Berlin, Germany. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, which I’ll remember forever.”

“Training the IT specialists of the future is a key component of CERN openlab’s mission,” says Enrica Porcari, CERN IT Department Head. "Despite the challenges of working remotely, the students have forged important relationships – including friendships – that they will surely treasure for years to come. These connections will also serve them well in their fledgling careers, on their journeys to becoming the leading IT experts of the future."

Video recordings of the students’ lightning talks are available on the event pages: session 1; session 2.

If you are interested in applying for next year’s CERN openlab summer-student programme, please visit this webpage for further information. Applications will open later this year.

Seeing Sparks!: CERN’s first serendipity forum on future intelligence

Wed, 08/09/2021 - 09:46
Seeing Sparks!: CERN’s first serendipity forum on future intelligence ssanchis Wed, 09/08/2021 - 08:46 Graphic for first edition of Sparks!, which will be held 17-18 September (Image: CERN)

The upcoming first edition of Sparks!,  which will be held 17-18 September, adopts the theme of future intelligence, and paves the way for two more pilot events in the lead up towards CERN’s new Science Gateway, opening in 2023.

The public event on 18 September will be available to watch through the live webstream from 16:00 - 20:00 CET. Visit the Sparks! event website for more information.

Sparks! the serendipity forum is a two-day multidisciplinary science innovation event organised by CERN. Sparks! aims to create a platform to drive innovation on topics relating to science, technology, engineering and maths, reflecting on their relevance in society and how to collaborate to address them.

The event consists of a forum and a public event. The forum will bring together 50 global experts, from scientists and ethicists, to philosophers and psychologists, to provoke discussions around the future of artificial intelligence, and what this means for society. The engagement in the forum will form the content of the public day, which will include short talks and discussions on the topic of future intelligence. Sparks! will also share information and generate debate through various platforms such as the podcasts and videos of the launch already published, in addition to articles and other academic materials. The public event will be accessible for everyone to watch through the live webstream.

The impact of AI, now and in the future, is experienced on a global scale. The theme of future intelligence demonstrates the benefits AI has for CERN, but also highlights the wider impact on global society and the challenges that it brings.

Charlotte Warakaulle, Director for International Relations, explains the idea behind Sparks!:

“We want to bring CERN’s spirit of intellectual and practical innovation to the cutting edge themes in science, technology, engineering and maths. The idea is to focus on areas that are important for CERN as a research laboratory and to everyone as citizens - and artificial intelligence is an example of this. It is an opportunity for us as a scientific community to learn and also engage with society on the challenges we face globally. We believe that pooling ideas and working across boundaries is essential to finding good solutions.  ”

The Sparks! public event will hear from some of the most prominent names in artificial intelligence. The lineup includes Daniel Kahneman, discussing the psychology of decision making, deep-learning expert and director of machine learning at NVIDIA, Anima Anandkumar, Koray Kavukcuoglu from DeepMind, Hiroaki Kitano, CEO of Sony AI Inc., and Jaan Tallinn, founding engineer of Skype and founder of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, among many others.

Sparks! is part of the CERN & Society programme. CERN & Society activities are only possible thanks to support received from partners, in particular Rolex and its long-standing association with the organisation. The 2020-2021 Sparks! event is also supported by Edmond de Rothschild, with support from the Didier et Martine Primat Foundation.

CERN participates in the Exhibition “From Geneva to the World”

Fri, 03/09/2021 - 18:42
CERN participates in the Exhibition “From Geneva to the World” thortala Fri, 09/03/2021 - 17:42

Multilateralism is a word you hear a lot in Geneva, but let us not forget its meaning – it conveys the idea of international cooperation in today’s interconnected world. The challenges we face – from climate change to global health – show that this cooperation between States is more important than ever.

The Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations Office in Geneva has initiated a photo exhibition on the benefits that organisations that uphold this value of cooperation bring to the world, in partnership with the UN and the City of Geneva. Over 30 international organisations like CERN show the impact of their work in Geneva on citizens around the globe.

The inauguration takes place on 6 September 2021 at 5.30 p.m. with opening remarks by EU Ambassador Lotte Knudsen, High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, WIPO Director General Daren Tang and Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees Kelly Clements. The women choir Tao Mousso will accompany the opening ceremony. The exhibition will then be on display throughout September.

Registration for the inauguration:

Researchers use CERN technology to evaluate risk of COVID-19 transmission

Wed, 01/09/2021 - 17:09
Researchers use CERN technology to evaluate risk of COVID-19 transmission Priyanka Dasgupta thortala Wed, 09/01/2021 - 16:09

Having good safety measures at schools is very important as children start going back to the classroom. But which measures are most effective at optimising health and safety conditions and preventing the spread of COVID-19 in school settings?

In a new study, researchers from various institutes including the Institute of Global Health (IGH) at the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and CERN used the CARA tool to model the concentration profiles of potential airborne viruses in a classroom of 160 m3 containing one infectious individual. A comprehensive analysis was conducted in order to find optimal solutions in different scenarios. It found, for instance, that natural ventilation – while a necessary measure – is more effective in winter than in summer.

“Our results show natural ventilation by opening windows, face masks and HEPA filtration to be most effective, when used in combination and complemented by additional measures like physical distancing, contact tracing and vaccination,” says the IGH’s Olivia Keiser, one of the researchers in the study, who has also participated in the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force.

CARA was initially used at CERN to inform space-management decisions on the CERN sites.

CARA is an easy-to-use tool, which CERN has made openly available. The original idea of CARA came from wanting to investigate the risks of working in shared spaces. Over time, the tool was further optimised thanks to the expertise of different departments at CERN and with the help of worldwide experts in infectious diseases,” says Andre Henriques, head developer of CARA from the Occupational Health and Safety and Environmental Protection (HSE) unit at CERN.

CERN’s know-how was key in developing the physical model of CARA, but with institutes like IGH bringing their extensive expertise in epidemiology and public health to the table, it is possible to exploit the potential of the tool for wider applications.

“With CERN’s technological expertise and our experience in health studies, the results from the study will be highly useful in deciding on targeted technical solutions that can help balance safety with a better school going experience,” says Jennifer Villers, an MSc student at UNIGE and the main author of the study.

Besides its use in primary and secondary education settings, the CARA tool has further knowledge-transfer potential and can also be used to assess the effectiveness of mitigation measures in other settings, such as higher education institutions and other indoor spaces.


This article was also published on the website of the CERN Knowledge Transfer group here. CERN’s technologies and expertise are available for scientific and commercial purposes through a variety of technology transfer opportunities. The CERN Knowledge Transfer group can help you tap into this potential and find solutions for you based on CERN’s many areas of expertise. Visit the KT website or write to us at

First European hospital receives 3D colour X-ray scanner using CERN technology

Wed, 01/09/2021 - 13:14
First European hospital receives 3D colour X-ray scanner using CERN technology Antoine Le Gall anschaef Wed, 09/01/2021 - 12:14

Since 2008, CERN and the New Zealand company MARS Bioimaging have teamed up to develop a 3D colour X-ray scanner based on the Medipix3 technology, developed by the Medipix3 collaboration. Inspired by particle physics detectors, Medipix3 and Timepix3 chips are now used for medical applications, in space and for art authentication.

The scanner has now arrived in Europe, at Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) in Switzerland. This marks the first step towards the European part of the international clinical trials being undertaken by MARS Bioimaging to get the technology certified for medical use.

With the potential to monitor bone healing following a fracture, MARS Bioimaging’s scanner makes high-resolution imaging around metal implants possible and can distinguish between many different types of tissue without any use of contrast agents. Images of such precision will lead to significant progress in diagnosing hand and wrist fractures and monitoring the healing process.

The team of radiologists and medical physicists at CHUV is eager to start clinical use of the scanner. “The MARS scanner will allow us to improve our understanding of arthritis: how it develops and how to diagnose it. It should also help us develop the targeted therapies we are currently lacking for calcium crystal deposition diseases,” explains Dr Fabio Becce, Associate Physician and Senior Lecturer at CHUV.

“Trials of this technology in a Swiss hospital clearly demonstrate the pathway from experiments performed in a physics research laboratory to making a difference to patient healthcare,” adds Professor Anthony Butler, President of MARS Bioimaging.

“In June 2021, CERN and MARS Bioimaging extended their current contract by five years, thus supporting MARS Bioimaging on their way to obtaining US Food and Drug Administration and European Union approval,” explains Aurélie Pezous, from CERN’s Knowledge Transfer group. “The partnership between CERN, the Medipix3 collaboration and MARS Bioimaging shows how teaming up with health professionals is critical to fostering medical innovation.”

Beyond knowledge transfer, this cooperation highlights the potential of CERN alumni, several of whom have been involved in ensuring the scanner’s radiological safety. Among them is Lucia Gallego Manzano, a former CERN fellow in radiation protection who now works at the Institut de radiophysique (IRA) of CHUV.

The BRIL luminosity sub-detectors prepare CMS for a bright Run 3

Wed, 01/09/2021 - 10:47
The BRIL luminosity sub-detectors prepare CMS for a bright Run 3 thortala Wed, 09/01/2021 - 09:47

After long months of preparation, the Beam Radiation, Instrumentation and Luminosity (BRIL) group has completed the installation of three instruments dedicated to the measurement of luminosity and beam conditions: the Beam Condition Monitor “Fast” (BCM1F), the Beam Condition Monitor for Losses (BCM1L) and the Pixel Luminosity Telescope (PLT). These three of the BRIL sub-detectors make up the BRIL sub-system which is segmented into 4 modules. They represent a new “generation” in their respective design history. Both PLT and BCM1F rely on silicon sensors, while BCM1L uses poly-crystalline diamond sensors.

Measuring the real-time rate of collisions at CMS is key to optimising both the trigger rates and the quality of the beams delivered by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Continuously assessing the beam conditions is also essential to the protection of the LHC machine and the sensitive CMS sub-detectors. Finally, the aggregated luminosity measurements need to be meticulously understood to determine the expected frequency of interactions in the analysis of data collected at CMS.

The design and production of new components, sensor characterisation, assembly, stress-testing under thermal cycles, troubleshooting, repairs and other tasks spanned a few years of challenging work, which ramped up as Long Shutdown 2 came to a close. The transport activities began before sunrise on 5 July 2021.

Each module of the sub-system was carefully loaded onto a special transport vehicle and dry air was circulated inside their transport boxes. Only days before, each module had been delicately readied for its journey, which included labelling them with their affectionately selected aliases: Calabrese, Capricciosa, Diavola and Margherita. After being lowered down the pit to the CMS experimental cavern, each module was craned up to the tracker sub-detector platform. The BRIL sub-detectors now lie at the heart of the CMS detector, about 1.8 m from the interaction point, just beside the forward pixel tracking sub-detector. 

One of the most significant changes in the design of the instruments has been the implementation of a new active cooling circuit for BCM1F, which is essential for a silicon-based detector. The PLT cooling loop has been modified to include a new section for BCM1F. The design of the BCM1F cooling circuit follows the approach implemented for the PLT during Run 2: the cooling structure has been 3D printed in a titanium alloy using the selective laser melting technique.

The silicon sensors used for BCM1F and three of those used in one of the PLT channels were sourced from a batch currently being developed for the CMS Phase II upgrade for the High-Luminosity LHC. “This is the first time that these prototype Phase II silicon pixel sensors will be installed in CMS, so the whole community is eager to see how this material behaves,” says Anne Dabrowski, CMS BRIL project manager.

The installation of the BRIL sub-detectors was closely followed by the sealing of the bulkhead, which encloses them with the CMS silicon pixel and strip tracker sub-detectors. The work is now focused on the full commissioning of all BRIL systems in anticipation of the first beams of Run 3 of the LHC.


This story was originally published on the CMS website

CERN’s Science Gateway takes (tubular) shape

Tue, 31/08/2021 - 12:05
CERN’s Science Gateway takes (tubular) shape anschaef Tue, 08/31/2021 - 11:05

Construction of Science Gateway, CERN’s new scientific education and communication hub designed by the Renzo Piano Building Workshop in collaboration with Brodbeck-Roulet architectes associés, is proceeding apace.

A new architectural feature – in the form of a tube – has been installed this week on the Esplanade des Particules. This is the first of two large steel cylinders measuring 10 metres in diameter and 80 metres in length that will house CERN’s permanent and temporary exhibitions. In these structures, visitors will be immersed in an environment representing the underground tunnels of the LHC.

The tubes, which appear to be suspended in space, evoke the pioneering technology that underpins the cutting-edge research carried out at CERN and elsewhere in order to push the boundaries of our knowledge of the origins of the universe. Science Gateway’s architecture is therefore a celebration of the inventiveness and creativity that characterise the world of research and engineering.

Three other features will soon be added to the architectural complex: the bridge, the solar collectors and the forest.

The bridge, passing over the Route de Meyrin at a height of 6 metres, will connect the tubes, symbolising the enduring link between science and society. Several spaces dedicated to exhibitions and educational activities will branch off from this main artery. The solar collectors – three square solar panels measuring 40 metres by 40 metres – will be installed on three pavilions that will house a large 900-seat amphitheatre, labs, an exhibition space, the reception area, the shop and the restaurant. The forest will provide a wonderful experience for people exploring the area on foot. With more than 400 trees, it will remind us that all our explorations, at every scale, are ultimately about nature.

Through its exhibitions and hands-on educational activities, Science Gateway will give people of all ages and from all walks of life the chance to find out about CERN’s discoveries, scientific research and technologies. It will also set the bar for efforts to encourage young people to pursue careers in science and technology. Science Gateway is due to open to the public in 2023.

Environmental awareness: Take action on waste by respecting the three Rs

Mon, 30/08/2021 - 17:13
Environmental awareness: Take action on waste by respecting the three Rs thortala Mon, 08/30/2021 - 16:13

For information on CERN’s electronics pool, please visit this page

For information on CERN’s Storage, Recuperation and Sales service, please visit this page.

More information on CERN’s e-learning module on waste management can be found here.

Share your best tips for waste reduction on our dedicated Mattermost channel.

Hacking for humanity at CERN’s global Webfest

Mon, 30/08/2021 - 13:18
Hacking for humanity at CERN’s global Webfest Andrew Purcell cagrigor Mon, 08/30/2021 - 12:18 Webfest poster (Image: CERN)

The Webfest is CERN’s annual hackathon based on open web technologies. This year, on the weekend of 21-22 August, participants from 63 countries formed small teams online and used their combined skills and knowledge to develop innovative prototype apps, hardware and other tools.

The theme for this year’s Webfest was “science, society, sustainability”, with participants encouraged to work on projects that address the UN Sustainable Development Goals. To this end, teams at the Webfest created an application to warn of wildfires, a concealed alarm system for victims of domestic violence, a directory for online learning materials, a website providing clear and accurate information about nuclear energy, a health app that identifies nutrient deficiencies, an AI system to aid with studying and much more. Information on all 22 innovative projects can be found on the Webfest website.

Participants from 63 countries across the globe joined the hackathon. (Image: CERN)

“Focusing on the Sustainable Development Goals, the participants in this year’s CERN Webfest showed a great commitment to using their skills to improve our world,” says Charlotte Warakaulle, Director for International Relations at CERN. “Their creativity and innovation has not only generated new practical solutions to societal challenges, but also inspired new ways of working together.”

Each year, one project is selected as the overall Webfest winner. The eight judges at this year’s event selected a project that uses crowdsourced designs and 3D printing to create tools for disabled people. These tools are particularly aimed at helping people with conditions like ectrodactyly and syndactyly (malformations of the hands and feet) to use everyday objects. During the Webfest, the team was able to create a prototype attachment that helps those with these conditions to pick up drinking bottles.

“For me, the Webfest was more than a hackathon; it was a portal for meeting new people from various backgrounds and learning about their journeys,” says Komal Kedarnath, a mechanical engineering student from India and a member of the winning team. “I had the best time during the networking sessions, where I talked to people from 10 different time zones about how they got here. It was amazing!”      

Noor Afshan Fathima, a technical student in the CERN IT department, presented the winning idea at the end of the Webfest. Her teammates were Komal Kedarnath, Mehdi Golbaz and Noor K. Kubra, all from India. Mehdi Golbaz is currently a CERN openlab summer student.

Noor Afshan Fathima, a technical student in the CERN IT department, presented the winning idea at the end of the Webfest. Her teammates were Komal Kedarnath, Mehdi Golbaz and Noor K. Kubra, all from India. Mehdi Golbaz is currently a CERN openlab summer student.

In addition to these networking sessions, the Webfest offered a fun CERN-themed quiz, an online exercise session and several how-to workshops focused on practical skills, such as how to give good presentations and how to create short videos. This diverse programme was made possible thanks to the Webfest’s supporters: CERN openlab, gluoNNet, RemotelyGreen, Veertly, Citizen Cyberlab, Crowd4SDG, THE Port, CERN Alumni, Quantum FutureX, AI Crowd and CERN Fitness Club.

Given the global interest once again shown in the event, the organisers plan to run the hackathon online again next year.

To find out more, read the full version of this article on the CERN openlab website. Also, you can still watch all the public Webfest sessions – including the closing awards ceremony – on YouTube.