A week for records… and things of record

This week, the LHC set an important record on the way to the start of data taking for Run 2. At around 10.30 p.m. on Wednesday, 20 May, two bunches of particles were brought into collision at 13 TeV for the first time as part of the commissioning process for the systems that protect the detectors from stray particles. This milestone triggered ripples of excitement around the Laboratory and, coming right on schedule, is a clear sign that we are on course for physics data taking to start at the beginning of June. My congratulations go to all involved.


That was not the only record set this week: there was a sporting record as well. On Thursday, nearly 800 of you ran the traditional CERN Relay Race with 129 teams competing along with nine Nordic walkers, easily breaking the previous record of 108 teams set in 2013. However, despite so many pretenders to the crown, the course record of 10 minutes and 33 seconds set by the VELOcity team in 2013 still stands.

Staying with a sporting theme, the annual Swiss "Bike to Work" challenge is about to begin.  This is a national inter-enterprise competition to encourage people to leave their cars in the garage and pedal their way to work while the summer sun graces our skies. CERN has signed up for the month of June. Last year, we were the largest participant in French-speaking Switzerland with 100 teams of four cyclists. This year we have over 60 teams signed up so far, and it’s not too late to enter a team at the "Bike to Work" website. Let’s see if we can break another record before the month is out!

Another development of record this week was the inauguration of the emergency operations centre operated by the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) on the CERN site. Operational since 4 May, the centre has already proved its worth, enabling the hospital to reinforce its emergency response capability in the vicinity of CERN. I’m very happy that we’ve been able to work with the HUG to make this important development a reality.

Finally, and certainly worthy of record, an important milestone for CERN staff, and indeed many more who have benefited over the years, was marked on 21 May. Last year it was CERN’s turn to celebrate its 60th anniversary, this year it is that of our Staff Association. On Thursday, runners finishing the CERN Relay were greeted with the beginning of the festivities that the Association put on to mark the anniversary of its foundation in 1955. Congratulations to the Staff Association, and many happy returns!

Rolf Heuer