The LHC Physics Centre at CERN

Although raw physics data is produced at CERN, thanks to the GRID its analysis is performed in various institutes worldwide. In addition, workshops, conferences and meetings take place all over the world. The physicist community is decentralized, and CERN must continue to provide intellectual leadership. The LHC Physics Centre is the tool that will make this possible.


Until the early days of LEP, a large part of the scientific activity related to CERN’s experiments was strongly centered at the Laboratory. Few places had the infrastructure to host activities such as the working groups preparing the Yellow Reports, and the limited access to information in the pre-web era made CERN the natural place to learn what was happening in the field. “I remember the days when we, the theorists, would come to CERN just to read the most recent preprints, which were reaching CERN's Library before we could get them in our institutes”, says Michelangelo Mangano, a member of the Theory Group and the person responsible for the LHC Physics Centre project.

Nowadays, access to cheap and powerful computing enables remote groups to work on the data produced at faraway CERN, and the fraction of activities related to the LHC physics that take place away from CERN has grown considerably in recent years. This represents a challenge for CERN in fulfilling its duty to provide comprehensive scientific support to the LHC physics programme, addressing the needs of the user community and CERN physicists. “Not everybody can afford to jet around the world attending workshops and meeting collaborators. Scientists who are at CERN most of their time must find here the inspiring atmosphere that will allow them to make the most of the LHC enterprise”, explains Mangano. “CERN should continue to provide intellectual leadership to the physics community worldwide, and adapt its scientific support initiatives to this rapidly evolving landscape”.

The LHC Physics Centre at CERN (LPCC) is the answer to this challenge. Its current and planned initiatives cover a broad spectrum, ranging from contributions to the education and integration at CERN of young researchers, to communication towards the whole physics community. “The LPCC provides a forum for discussion among the experiments, and with the theorists”, continues Mangano.

Among other things, the LPCC will coordinate the activities of CERN's LHC-related workshops. “On 7 May we started the series of ‘LHC physics day’, mini-workshops on issues of current interest organized on the first Friday of each month”, says Mangano. Working groups will be created with the aim of preparing the ground for comparison and combination of the results from the various experiments. “Two LHC Working Groups (LWGs) are already active, one on ‘Minimum Bias and Underlying Event properties’, the other on ‘Rate normalisation’”, he adds.

The recently created LPCC web page is being built up to become a portal to facilitate  access to all information on LHC physics. All the presentations and workshops organized in the framework of the LPCC activities are broadcast, recorded and archived on the web. The website contains links to the daily status reports on the LHC, to the LWGs, to relevant workshops, publications and other events. “It also contains lists and skill profiles of physicists in the CERN Theory group (TH) who can be contacted by the experimentalists for questions ranging from MonteCarlo tools to aspects of physics beyond the Standard Model. A periodic LPCC bulletin will soon start being distributed”, says Mangano.

In the area of education, in coordination with CERN's Academic Training programme, the LPCC will promote the integration of PhD students at CERN. “Students from the LHC experiments and from the computing, accelerator and technical departments have already been actively involved in the planning of dedicated lectures, and initiatives will be introduced to familiarise them with the workings of CERN, says Mangano. This will include web resources to help new arrivals, analysis tutorials organised in coordination with the experiments, poster sessions to present their work, and possible integration in research projects led by CERN Fellows and Staff”.

“The LPCC is a great opportunity offered by CERN to the whole physics community, with the expectation that it will grow in time to assist and enhance the exploitation of the physics output from the LHC” confirms Rolf Heuer, CERN Director-General.

Everybody is welcome to make comments and suggestions for new initiatives by sending an e-mail to

The LHC physics centres around the world

Two other centres for LHC physics are already operational: the LHC physics centre at Fermilab and the ‘Physics at the Terascale’ at DESY (Germany). Both centres support the local communities of particle physicists by providing a common infrastructure that enhances collaboration, training and the development of new tools for the LHC data analysis.


by CERN Bulletin