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Scholarly Communication in High Energy Physics (HEP)

The Web

Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist at CERN, invented the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989.

The web was originally conceived and developed to meet the demand for automatic information-sharing between scientists in universities and institutes around the world.

CERN does not have the computing or financial resources to store all of the data on site, so in 2002 it turned to grid computing to share the burden with computer centres around the world. The Worldwide LHC Computing Grid (WLCG) – a distributed computing infrastructure arranged in tiers – gives a community of over 8000 physicists near real-time access to LHC data.

CERN on Twitter

What is CERN

The European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, is a European research organization that operated the largest Particle Physics laboratory in the world. Founded in 1954, the labratory is composed of 21 member states and is located near Geneva on the Franco-Swiss border. Currently, most of the activities at CERN  involve operating the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a worldwide scientific cooperation project using the world's largest and most powerful particle accelerator.

CERN Scientific Information Service

GS-SIS - Scientific Information Service

The role of SIS is to:

  • Manage the Library, Historical and Scientific Archives of CERN.
  • To acquire and manage information resources in all fields of relevance to the Organization and make these accessible to the worldwide particle physics community.
  • To safeguard documents and files of potential interest to the Organization and for historical research.
  • To provide information about and access to archived material.
  • To advise CERN departments and collaborations in archival issues and records management. 


Approximately 600 million times per second, particles collide within the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Each collision generates particles that often decay in complex ways into even more particles. Electronic circuits record the passage of each particle through a detector as a series of electronic signals, and send the data to the CERN Data Centre (DC) for digital reconstruction.

The digitized summary is recorded as a "collision event". Physicists must sift through the 30 petabytes or so of data produced annually to determine if the collisions have thrown up any interesting physics.

LHC-CMS experiment result

First hypothesized in 1964, the Higgs boson is thought to be the phenomenon that gives mass to all fundamental subatomic particles. Without mass, we would live in a very different place. Electrons, protons, and neutrons wouldn’t combine to form atoms, and you, me, and just about everything else simply wouldn’t exist.

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