Archives of Gargamelle Bubble Chamber

Identity Statement [Top]

Reference code(s)



Archives of Gargamelle Bubble Chamber


June 1967 - September 1975

Level of description

sub-fonds level

Extent of the unit of description

153 items, 68 boxes, 8 linear meters

Context [Top]

Name of creator

Gargamelle Collaboration

Administrative history

In 1964 Andre Lagarrigue proposed a heavy liquid bubble chamber, Gargamelle. Plans for the construction became reality in December 1965, with the signing of an agreement between CERN and the CEA in association with the Laboratory of the Ecole Polythechnique (Paris) and the Linear Accelerator Laboratory of the Ecole Normale Supérieur (Orsay).

The Gargamelle bubble chamber was built at the Saclay Laboratory, and was designed principally for the detection at CERN of the elusive particles called neutrinos.

In 1970 it was installed in the South-East Area, in the neutrino beam of the PS accelerator. In December the first tests were done and the first tracks of cosmic rays in freon were detected.

In 1973 Gargamelle made one of CERN's major physics discoveries, the "neutral current", a new kind of particle interaction.

In 1976 CERN moved Gargamelle to the SPS machine in the West Area.

In 1978 a big fissure appeared in the body of the chamber.

In 1979 Gargamelle was stopped because it was in need of a heavy programme repairs.

* Source : Annual Reports, CERN Couriers, CERN Bulletins

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Received from Paul Musset

Content & Structure [Top]

Scope and content

A bubble chamber contains a liquid under pressure, which reveals the tracks of electrically charged particles as trails of tiny bubbles when the pressure is reduced. Neutrinos have no charge, and so leave no tracks, but the aim with Gargamelle was to "see neutrinos" by making visible any charged particles set in motion by the interaction of neutrinos in the liquid. Neutrinos interact very rarely, so Gargamelle was designed not only to be as big as possible, but also to work with a dense liquid - freon (CF3Br) - in which neutrinos would be more likely to interact.

Gargamelle was a giant chamber whose form was a horizontal cylinder 4.8 metres long, with an inside diameter of 1.88 metres and a capacity of 10 000 litres of heavy liquid (propane, freon or a mixture of the two).

This collection contains photographs, notes, correspondence, scans, plans, minutes, statistics, documents on conferences, colloquia, events with PS and SPS accelerators, WA14, WA15 and other experiments...

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information

Nothing was destroyed.


No further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

The original order has been preserved.

Conditions of access and use [Top]

Conditions governing access

See file level description and the CERN operational circular No 3: rules applicable to archival material and archiving at CERN. In general, records on any subject that are over 30 years old, and all records of a purely scientific nature, may be consulted.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copyright is retained by CERN, no reproduction without permission.

Language / scripts of material

Most of the material is written in English.

Finding aids

Listed to file level in the CERN Archives Database.

Description control [Top]

Archivist's note

Description prepared by Florent Perret. Information sources include the Annual Reports, CERN Couriers, CERN Bulletins...

Date(s) of description

Geneva, the 10th January 2005, Revised 2007.