Mystery photos from CERN's history

Over the first 50 years of its existence, before digital photography became the norm, CERN accumulated about a quarter of a million hard-copy images in its archive. Now, a project is underway to digitise the entire collection and make it searchable via the CERN Document Server (CDS).


Some 120,000 black and white images from the period 1955-1985 are currently being digitised, with files being uploaded in batches of several hundred per week. They are then automatically sorted into albums based on the existing information.
In most cases, at least some descriptions exist, allowing us to identify the pictures.

However, many albums are still in need of titles, the names of the people in the photos, descriptions of equipment, etc., and we believe that much of this information could be crowd-sourced from the CERN community. Here are some highlights from the first few thousand uploads, some of which we do have information about:

But what about these pictures? Here we have far less information –  what could they be?

Please get in touch by e-mail if you have any information about the pictures.

We will be offering many more challenges in future issues of the Bulletin. Thank you in advance for helping to complete the records.

This digitisation project is a collaboration between the Collaboration and Information Services Group (IT-CIS) and the Scientific Information Service (GS-SIS).

by Jens Vigen, Alex Brown