Archives of Track Chamber records, TC

Identity Statement [Top]

Reference code(s)



Archives of Track Chamber records, TC


1956 - 1997

Level of description


Extent of the unit of description

616 Items, 405 Boxes, 45 Linear metres

Context [Top]

Name of creator

Track Chamber (TC), Experimental Physics Facilities (EF), Particle Physics Experiments (PPE) renamed Experimental Physics (EP), Electronics and Computing for Physics (ECP) Divisions.

Administrative history

In 1955 Track Chamber Group (TC) was attached to the Scientific and Technical Services Division (STS) directed by Dr L. Kowarski.

In 1958 TC Group moved to the Proton Synchrotron Division (PS).

In 1961 TC Group became the TC Division directed by Charles Peyrou, responsible for the Hydrogen Bubble Chambers (HBC) sector, while Nuclear Physics Apparatus Division directed by Colin Ramm became responsible for the Heavy Liquid Bubble Chambers Sector.

In 1966 new Departments were formed by regrouping the existing Divisions; these departments existed until 1975. TC remained a Division and was integrated into the Physics II Department, NPA Division was integrated into the Proton Synchrotron (PS) Department with the PS Division, and Nuclear Physics Division (NP) was integrated into the Physics I Department with Synchro-Cyclotron Division (SC).

In 1969 NPA Division disappeared and TC Division became the division responsible for the high energy physics program at the PS using bubble chambers (Hydrogen Bubble Chambers + Heavy Liquid Bubble Chambers).

Hydrogen Bubble Chambers Sector :

  • The 10cm Bubble Chamber, HBC10 
  • The CERN 32cm Bubble Chamber, called HCB30 was built in 1959
  • Reception of the 81 cm Bubble Chamber (HBC81) built jointly by the Ecole Polytechnique and Saclay in 1961
  • 1.5 m British Bubble Chamber, BNHBC
  • CERN 2m Bubble Chamber, called HBC200
  • Big European Bubble Chamber, BEBC 

Heavy liquid Bubble Chambers sector :

  • Reception (1960 - 1964) of the 1 m Ecole Polytechnique Chamber called BP3 and built by André Lagarrigue.
  • The 1 m propane buble chamber, called HLBC
  • Gargamelle

In 1976 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 :

  • Experimental Physics Facilities Division (EF) formed from parts of the former Nuclear Physics (NP) and Track Chamber (TC) Divisions
  • Experimental Physics Division (EP) from part of NP Division.

In 1990 :

  • Experimental Physics Facilities Division (EF) was renamed Electronics and Computing for Physics Division (ECP)
  • Experimental Physics Division (EP) was renamed Particle Physics Division (PPE)

At the end of 1997, Electronics and Computing for Physics Division (ECP) was dissolved and divided into Information Technology (IT) and Experimental Physics (EP) Divisions and in 1998 Particle Physics Division (PPE) became again Experimental Physics Division (EP).

Content & Structure [Top]

Scope and content

The bubble chamber worked on the principle that bubbles formed in a liquid which was very near to its boiling point along the tracks of particles passing through the chamber. The bubbles were very small and hence the particle tracks appeared as fine lines traversing the chamber and could be photographed.

Track Chambers are used to show the paths of the particles. This is achieved when particles pas through a detector holding a suitable substances. It could be a solid, a liquid or a gas.

This collection, created by TC, EF, EP and ECP divisions from 1957 to 1997, contains notes, reports, internal reports, publications, correspondence

  • on bubble chambers (BNHBC, HBC30, HBC81, HBC200, Gargamelle, BEBC, Rapid Cycling Bubble Chamber RCBC, the Holographic bubble chamber HOBC, the Lexan buble chamber, Crystal Projection Chamber CPC, Ultra Sonic Bubble Chamber USBC, Mirabelle),
  • spectrometers (OMEGA, European Hybrid Spectrometer EHS, the Split Field magnet SFM, Axial Field Spectrometer AFS),
  • collaborations (CERN Heidelberg Munich CHM, CERN Bonn ERASME CBE),
  • experiments, committees (Slow Proton Trigger Collaboration SPT, X42, X55) and
  • working groups (Construction Coommittee COCO, Track Chamber Committee TC-COM, Visiting Scientist Committee, Committee for co-ordination of Data Handling Support COCODATA, SPSC Committee)...

* See more information: CERN Annual Report 1977, p13, "Infinitely CERN, Memories from 50 years of research"

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information

Nothing was destroyed.


No further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

The original order has been preserved. For the purposes of cataloguing the files have been described according to the following classification plan :

CERN-ARCH-TC-01-001 to 256 TC documents
CERN-ARCH-TC-02-001 to 104 D.Phys.II documents
CERN-ARCH-TC-03-001 to 050 EF documents
CERN-ARCH-TC-04-001 to 008 ECP documents
CERN-ARCH-TC-05-001 to 137 PPE and EP documents
CERN-ARCH-TC-06-001 to 066 Miscellaneous documents

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 or in French.

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 24th February 2004. Revised 2007.