A Brief History of CERN

CERN's fascinating history, from the period preceding its creation right up to the present day, has inspired many people to take up pen and paper over the years. Recently, Marie Mazzone, a 19-year old student at Geneva's Collège Sismondi, chose it as the subject for her "travail de maturité", which she presented in the form of a comic book.


Cover of "the Accelerator of Peace" comic book by Marie Mazonne.

In her comic book, which she entitled "L’accélérateur de paix" (the Accelerator of Peace, see the full PDF), Marie traces CERN's history back to its creation, explaining how the needs of post-war Europe led to the construction of an international scientific laboratory.

Marie's four grandparents are all former CERN employees, so the Organization has been part of her life ever since she was small. "I'd always been familiar with the word CERN," she tells us. "But I'd hardly ever been there and knew very little about it." Hence the choice of subject for her project, which offered an excellent opportunity to find out more about a place that had fascinated her for a long time and had brought her grandparents to Geneva from Italy.

Having found the subject, all that remained was to decide how to present it. With her love of art and drawing, a comic book seemed an ideal medium. Happy to be able to combine her research with her passion, she set out to answer a host of questions, such as why Geneva had been chosen to host the Organization. She was also curious to know how a laboratory like CERN had come into being. "I realised that after the war, when it came to rebuilding what had been destroyed, Europe was keen to make a fresh start and build new projects," says Marie. She began her research on the Web and then in June 2009, to find out more, she visited CERN with her grandmother. At that point she had all the information she needed for her comic book. After several months of work, she rounded it off at the point where everything had started: 1954, when the foundation stone of CERN was laid.

After obtaining her "maturité" diploma in June 2010, Marie decided to take a sabbatical to give her time to decide what she wanted to study in the future. We wish her a long and successful career.

by Laëtitia Pedroso