Archives of Nuclear Physics Division, NP

Identity Statement [Top]

Reference code(s)

CERN-ARCH-NP-001 to 089


Archives of Nuclear Physics Division, NP


1956 - 1975

Level of description


Extent of the unit of description

89 items, 89 boxes, 10 linear metres

Context [Top]

Name of creator

Nuclear Physics Division

Administrative history

In 1961, as the PS experimental program started, the original six division of CERN were reorganized into twelves divisions. The following groups from the former Synchro-Cyclotron (SC) division became part of the Nuclear Physics (NP) division.

  • Counter group 
  • Emulsion group Nuclear chemistry and spallation group 
  • Cloud chamber group 
  • Electronics Group 

The main task of the NP division (directed by Professor Preiswerk) was to carry out, in collaboration with European universities and Laboratories, the high energy physics programme at the Proton Sychrotron (PS) and Synchro-Cylotron (SC) machines, using counter and nuclear emulsion techniques. In addition NP was responsible for the design and operation of the beams needed for these experiments and for developing the equipement necessary for resarch with them.

NP division was also responsible for the Nuclear Physics Research Committee (NPRC) and the scientific experimental committees : EEC, EmC, TCC, SCC, ...

In 1966, the construction of ISR began, and following the proposal of the Director-General, Professor Gregory, the Council adopted a new internal organization. All CERN's work was regrouped into seven Departments : two for experimental physics, one for theoretical physics, one for the Proton Synchrotron, one for applied physics, one for the construction of the ISR and one for administration. NP and MSC were included in the Physics I Department.

In 1967 NP Division also began experiments on the Intersecting Storage Rings (ISR) facility, and was responsible for experiments on other new facilities at CERN when they became available.

In 1968 the Scientific Policy Committee approved the construction of the Omega project, a large spectrometer magnet to be used for high-energy counter spark chamber experiments.

In 1970 Herwig Schopper became the new NP Division leader.

In 1972, Emilio Picasso succeeded Herwig Schopper.

In 1975 the NP activities concentrated mainly on the setting up of the experimental programme at the Improved Sychro-Cyclotron (SC2), full exploitation of the ISR and PS accelerators, and the preparation of the first experiments at the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) accelerator.

In 1976 the departmental structure ceased. With the advent of the large bubble chambers, expert groups of designers and constructors grew up. Finally, the distinction between those people who design, build and operate the big detectors and those who use them for research was recognized by the setting up of two new CERN Divisions :

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Nuclear Physics Division

Content & Structure [Top]

Scope and content

This collection contains NP internal reports, EEC, ISRC, TCC, NPRC, SPSC, PHI and III Committee minutes, the Omega project proposal, letters of Intention sent to SPSC and ISRC, and also correspondence, press cuttings, slides, photography and confidential staff lists...

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 Sandrine Reyes.

Date(s) of description

Geneva, the 12 November 2007.