Science Bringing Nations Together

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Planting the Seed

It was in 1949 at the European Cultural Conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, that the distinguished French scientist Louis de Broglie first proposed the idea for a European research laboratory. 

"... our attention has turned to the question of developing this new international unit, a laboratory or institution where it would be possible to carry out scientific work above and beyond the framework of the various nations taking part [...] this body could be endowed with greater resources than those available to the national laboratories and could then embark upon tasks whose magnitude and nature preclude them from being done by the latter on their own."

"There is no doubt that the results of such an undertaking would more than compensate the efforts involved [...] and with the firm aim of facilitating the dissemination of studies, publications and information, the creation of this research centre will symbolize the pooling of some of the intellectual energy of contemporary Europe."
Louis de Broglie

Pierre Auger and Edoardo Amaldi, benefiting from the encouragements of Isidor Rabi at the UNESCO General Conference of 1950, convinced the European governments to move ahead.

The Conseil Européen de la Recherche Nucléaire, CERN, was born in 1952. CERN was the first science joint venture of countries in post-war Europe, and is a model of what can be done when a group of nations joins forces with a common goal.

CERN's governing body, Council, is composed of two representatives per Member State, usually one from government and the other from the scientific community. Council thus has the means to reconcile the wishes of scientists with the financial will of governments.

Left to Right: CERN pioneers P. Auger, E. Amaldi, and L. Kowarski at the first session of the provisional CERN Council in 1952.

 At the sixth session of the CERN Council which took place in Paris on 29 June-1 July 1953, the Convention establishing the Organization was signed, subject to ratification, by 12 European States.

The Organization officially came in to existence one year later in September 1954.  


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