Archives of Big European Bubble Chamber, BEBC

Identity Statement [Top]

Reference code(s)



Archives of Big European Bubble Chamber, BEBC


1958 - 1984

Level of description


Extent of the unit of description

159 items, 111 boxes, 12 linear metres

Context [Top]

Name of creator

BEBC Collaboration

Administrative history

The Big European Bubble Chamber (BEBC) Detector construction was started in 1967 by a consortium of German (University of Heildelberg DESY), French (Ecole Ploytechnique SACLAY) and CERN (Track Chamber Division) teams and the first pictures were taken in 1973.

The vessel of the Big European Bubble Chamber was installed at the beginning of the 1970s. The large stainless-steel vessel, measuring 3.7 metres in diameter and 4 metres in height, was filled with 35 cubic metres of liquid (hydrogen, deuterium or a neon-hydrogen mixture), whose sensitivity was regulated by means of a huge piston weighing 2 tonnes. During each expansion, the trajectories of the charged particles were marked by a trail of bubbles, where liquid reached boiling point as they passed through it. The first images were recorded in 1973 when BEBC, equipped with the largest superconducting magnet in service at the time, first received beam from the PS. In 1977 the bubble chamber was exposed to neutrino and hadron beams at higher energies of up to 450 GeV after the SPS came into operation.

The addition of the External Muon Identifier (EMI), the Internal Picket Fence (IPF), the External Particle Identifier (EPI) and a Track-Sensitive Target (TST) converted BEBC into a hybrid detector.

By the end of its active life in 1984, BEBC had delivered a total of 6.3 million photographs to 22 experiments devoted to neutrino or hadron physics. Around 600 scientists from some fifty laboratories throughout the world had taken part in analysing the 3000 km of film it had produced.

BEBC was dismantled in 1985.

* Source : Goldens Jubilee photos - BEBC the Big European Bubble Chamber. Issue N°20/2004. Mon 10th May 2004 - Bulletin Annual Report 1977, p 82 ; Annual Report 1984, p 64

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Charles Peyrou, leader of the Department of Physics II, Division Track Chamber (TC) from 1960 to 1974

Content & Structure [Top]

Scope and content

This sub-fonds contains notes of meetings, memoranda, photos, reports, technical specifications reports, technical studies, correspondence, plans, slides and drawings, and also documents about construction (reports, correspondence), exploitation (BEBC experiments, safety, calculations) and financing (budget, expenditure) of BEBC.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information

Nothing was destroyed.


No further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

CERN-ARCH-BEBC-01 Prestudies
CERN-ARCH-BEBC-03 Committees
CERN-ARCH-BEBC-04 BEBC Experiments
CERN-ARCH-BEBC-07 1m Model Chamber
CERN-ARCH-BEBC-08 Expansion
CERN-ARCH-BEBC-09 Instrumentation
CERN-ARCH-BEBC-10 Refrigeration
CERN-ARCH-BEBC-13 Metrology-mesures
CERN-ARCH-BEBC-14 Holography
CERN-ARCH-BEBC-15 Hybridization
CERN-ARCH-BEBC-16 Track Sensitive Target (TST
CERN-ARCH-BEBC-17 Physics with BEBC
CERN-ARCH-BEBC-19 BEBC Newsletters
CERN-ARCH-BEBC-21 Internal Notes
CERN-ARCH-BEBC-22 Photos Neutrinos
CERN-ARCH-BEBC-23 Gargamelle - Diapositives
CERN-ARCH-BEBC-24 BESSY - BEBC Scanning system
CERN-ARCH-BEBC-25 BEBC - Bâtiments et Installations

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, French or German.

Finding aids

Listed to file level in the CERN Archives Database.

Description control [Top]

Archivist's note

Description prepared by Marie Coosemans, revised in 2007, 2019
Information Sources include the CERN Bulletin (20/2004) and annual reports 1977, 1984.

Date(s) of description

Geneva, the 16th June 2004, Revised 2007.