CERN's Community "Log Book" turns 50

For five decades, the CERN Bulletin has been a staple of the Organization. As CERN has grown as a laboratory and a community, the Bulletin has been there to cover each development as it happens. In honour of the publication's 50th anniversary, we're taking a trip through CERN’s history via the headings and hidden corners of its internal newsletter.


It's 1965 and CERN - now 11 years old - has matured from a simple lab to a fledgling community. While news could once spread in a single afternoon, CERN's growth necessitated a new approach to the sharing of internal information. Meanwhile, the CERN Courier - the only publication in town - was approaching a more global physics audience – an audience for whom CERN road closures were not breaking news.

And so, in March 1965, the Weekly Bulletin was born. What was meant as a simple newsletter of events and internal announcements quickly developed into a wider source of news about CERN. Digging through the archives of the CERN Bulletin, you'll find a treasure trove of historical notes about our community. Remember when the Organization had two Directors-General? Or when a DG announced that he was stepping down via a short note in the Bulletin? Or how about those beer bottles in the LEP vacuum chamber? Perhaps you still remember the cloud chamber aquarium in the Main Building? These details may be lost to memory, but have not been lost to print.

From the weird to the wonderful, we've highlighted some of our favourite CERN moments from the past five decades. The digitised collection of the CERN Bulletin is available on CDS for you to dig into and discover your personal favourites. 

1960s - All about Whisky

1965 n°32 - Long before the Y bus was on the road, the Bulletin and the St. Genis town hall worked together to establish the X bus between CERN and France.

1967 n°27 - Life is hard for a Bulletin editor.

1968 n°7 - CERN's Got Talent: the Organization's logo was the result of an internal competition announced in the Weekly Bulletin.

1968 n°31 - Selling much more than just souvenirs and cigarettes, the CERN Shop of the 1960s took pride in its selection of alcohol.

1968 n°46 - The play's the thing wherein we'll catch the conscience of the... CERNois? Read this dramatic (and familiar) tale of a visitor lost at CERN.

1970s - Nothing is Necessary

1971 n°44 - Werner Heisenberg at the inauguration of the ISR.

1975 n°18 - As vacuums were still a new feat for CERN, this article looks at the "essentialness" of the nothingness.

1975 n°41 - Hot off the presses, the very first edition of the "Grey Book".

1977 n°6 - "Built like a mighty boat" - the construction of the North Area hall atop the Lion river makes the cover of this Bulletin edition.

1977 n°21 - Proof that CERN has always played host to a veritable alphabet soup of experiments.

1980s - Z0 marks the spot

1983 n° 3 - Just another Thursday: the discovery of the W-boson was announced in a seminar... on page 3.

1984 n° 18 - What, you thought they just wandered in? The creation of the Prevessin Deer Park makes page 2.

1986 n°22 - CERN's Radiation Protection Service examined the effects of the Chernobyl disaster just a few weeks after the initial event.

1987 n° 5 - CERN cats start family planning.

1988 n°33 - Long before his highly publicised visit in 2006, Stephen Hawking discussed "Baby universes and the non-renormalizability of gravity" in CERN's Main Auditorium.

1990s - Put the Big Bang on your chest!

1990 n° 46 - The first seminar about the Web? Held only 4 days after the publication of his (in)famous paper, this hypertext seminar was Tim Berners-Lee's first as a member of Computing and Networks group (CN).

1992 n° 26 - It's CERN o'clock! (Mad Men had nothing on the CERN advertising team.)

1995 n° 3 - The LHC gets its official go-ahead!

1995 n° 9 - An end to the curious case of the missing cables; as the PS returns to normal, charges are filed.

1996 n° 12 - Murder or natural causes? The Bulletin investigates the fate of the Main Auditorium fish.

2000s - Do you speak CERNese?

2002 n° 18 - Embarking on a terminology crusade? Seek aid from the Translation Service!

2006 n° 32 - Though new users and staff members arrive every day, the 100,000th CERNois to receive their ID card was celebrated in this Bulletin article.

2008 n° 10 - An abandoned Subaru - left in the CERN parking lot for two years - went on an adventure thanks to a CERN engineer... good times were had by all, until its original owner turned up after reading the Bulletin!

2010 n° 4 - The LEP event displays on the R1 coffee tables are more than just conversation starters - they were clues to a CERN Bulletin quiz!

2012 n° 28This special edition was dedicated to the discovery of the Higgs boson and was published on the day of its announcement.

Feel up to further exploration? We found hundreds of fascinating Bulletin articles in our search, available in PDF format for your convenience.

While digging into the archives, we discovered that Bulletin Issue 9/1965 is missing. If anyone among our readers has a copy of it, please contact us at

by Katarina Anthony