CERN receives prestigious Milestone recognition from IEEE

September 27, 2005

Geneva, 27 September 2005. At a ceremony last night at CERN*, Mr W. Cleon Anderson, President of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE**) formally dedicated a Milestone plaque in recognition of the invention of electronic particle detectors at CERN. The plaque was unveiled by Mr Anderson and Georges Charpak, the Nobel-prize winning inventor of wire chamber technology at CERN in 1968.

With the attribution of this IEEE Milestone, CERN finds itself in good company. There are currently over 60 Milestones around the world, awarded to such momentous achievements as the landing of the first transatlantic cable, code breaking Bletchley Park during World War II, and the development of the Japanese Bullet train, the Tokaido Shinkansen.

"It has been my pleasure to have participated in the dedication of seven of these Milestones," said Mr Anderson at the event, adding that all have brought important advances to humanity. "What is being done here at CERN," he concluded, "is of benefit to the world."

Particle physics research was revolutionised in 1968 when Georges Charpak published a paper describing the multi-wire proportional chamber, a forerunner to many of the particle detectors in use at CERN today. This invention paved the way for new discoveries in particle physics, as underlined by Swiss Secretary of State for Education and Research Charles Kleiber. "I am delighted that the IEEE has decided to award a key Milestone to CERN for the invention of the multi-wire proportional particle detector by Professor Charpak and his collaborators in 1968," he said "These developments have led to crucial progress in our understanding of the constituents of nature."

Charpak's invention also made it possible to increase the rate of data collection by a factor of a thousand. The significance of this was underlined by Walter LeCroy, founder of the company that bears his name, who said that Charpak's invention had "transformed the world of the electronics developer." "The advent of electronic particle detectors," he said, "brought the need to store, transmit and analyse data faster than ever before." Many of the developers working for LeCroy are former particle physicists.

In 1992, Charpak, who had been working at CERN since 1959, received the Nobel Prize in physics for his invention. He has also actively contributed to the use of this new type of detector in various applications in medicine and biology. The value of fundamental research institutes such as CERN in fostering innovation of this kind was a recurring theme of the ceremony. "CERN's reputation is based on fundamental research," said the Laboratory's Director General, Robert Aymar, "but the Organization is also an important source of new technologies. In our work we need instruments based more and more on electronics, so that a tight collaboration worldwide in this field is beneficial to science. In turn the developments in our science feed back into the equipment in industry and in the end they appear in your home." The point was underlined by Charpak himself, who stressed the importance of intellectual freedom, saying of his time at the Laboratory, "CERN was a fantastic place because of the freedom I had, which permitted me to do a lot of things that were unexpected."
For more information please contact the CERN Press Office
tel. +41 22 767 4101 or +41 22 767 4101 2141
see online for photos and press releases

* 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, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. India, Israel, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status. ** The IEEE is the world's largest professional association dedicated to the advancement of technology. Through its 365,000 members in 150 countries, the society is a leading authority on a wide variety of areas ranging from aerospace systems, computers and telecommunications to biomedical engineering, electric power and consumer electronics. The IEEE publishes 30 percent of the world's literature in the electrical and electronics engineering and computer science fields, and has developed more than 900 active industry standards. The organization also sponsors or cosponsors more than 300 international technical conferences each year. Additional information is available at

The IEEE Milestones were established in 1983 to honour the most significant achievements in the history of electrical and electronics engineering.


Related Physics Articles from Brightsurf:

Helium, a little atom for big physics
Helium is the simplest multi-body atom. Its energy levels can be calculated with extremely high precision only relying on a few fundamental physical constants and the quantum electrodynamics (QED) theory.

Hyperbolic metamaterials exhibit 2T physics
According to Igor Smolyaninov of the University of Maryland, ''One of the more unusual applications of metamaterials was a theoretical proposal to construct a physical system that would exhibit two-time physics behavior on small scales.''

Challenges and opportunities for women in physics
Women in the United States hold fewer than 25% of bachelor's degrees, 20% of doctoral degrees and 19% of faculty positions in physics.

Indeterminist physics for an open world
Classical physics is characterized by the equations describing the world.

Leptons help in tracking new physics
Electrons with 'colleagues' -- other leptons - are one of many products of collisions observed in the LHCb experiment at the Large Hadron Collider.

Has physics ever been deterministic?
Researchers from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the University of Vienna and the University of Geneva, have proposed a new interpretation of classical physics without real numbers.

Twisted physics
A new study in the journal Nature shows that superconductivity in bilayer graphene can be turned on or off with a small voltage change, increasing its usefulness for electronic devices.

Physics vs. asthma
A research team from the MIPT Center for Molecular Mechanisms of Aging and Age-Related Diseases has collaborated with colleagues from the U.S., Canada, France, and Germany to determine the spatial structure of the CysLT1 receptor.

2D topological physics from shaking a 1D wire
Published in Physical Review X, this new study propose a realistic scheme to observe a 'cold-atomic quantum Hall effect.'

Helping physics teachers who don't know physics
A shortage of high school physics teachers has led to teachers with little-to-no training taking over physics classrooms, reports show.

Read More: Physics News and Physics Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to