Mystery photos: challenge No. 3!

In recent weeks, we have been asking Bulletin readers to help us identify mystery pictures from the CERN archive.


Over 23,000 pictures have now been uploaded, more than 16,000 of which have been matched to some 1,100 albums. We have checked over 500 of these albums to make sure they contain the right pictures, improving and translating their titles as we go along. But we still need help in getting picture-level information. 

The public response has kept up at a steady pace and we are still receiving many useful e-mails every day from all around the world (if you have sent us an e-mail, we promise to answer it as soon as possible). Especially helpful contributions have come from the many CERN retirees contacting us to share their memories, especially in terms of recognising individual people. But we are also very glad of the contributions from people who have experience working in similar technical fields who recognise pieces of equipment, or even people with no connection to CERN at all but who have even the slightest inkling of what the pictures show.

We would again like to express our sincerest thanks to everyone who has been getting in touch.

Here are a few more pictures which we have confidently identified since the last article

And some more tricky ones:

If you recognise any of these pictures, please get in touch.

Thanks to recent additional efforts by the CERN Document Server team, the photo archive now has a comments feature. Logged-in users on the CERN website (people who do not have CERN accounts can create a lightweight account for free) can now submit their suggestions directly to the system.

For any other comments about the project, please get in touch by e-mail on

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

An (accidental) caption contest...

While surfing through the many sites that picked up the story about the mystery photos, we found a large number of comments. Some of them helped the archivists in their quest, but others were just for fun… Here are some of our favourites:




The last two comments reference (respectively) “The Treachery of Images” by Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte and the 1985 movie Back to the Future’s DeLorean time machine.


by Alex Brown, Jens Vigen, Rosaria Marraffino