Archives of Miss E.W.D. Steel (1907-2001)

Identity Statement [Top]

Reference code(s)



Archives of Miss E.W.D. Steel (1907-2001)


January 1958 - September 1976

Level of description


Extent of the unit of description

97 boxes; 97 Items; 11 linear metres

Context [Top]

Name of creator

Miss E.W.D. Steel

Biographical history

Ella Wentworth Dyne Steel (“Miss Steel”) arrived at CERN in 1955 after career in refugee work with the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) and the International Refugee Organization (IRO). Her first task, as a Divisional Administrative Officer, was to ensure good administrative practice in the Proton Synchrotron (PS) Division directed by John Adams.

In 1961, she was appointed by John Adams, by then acting Director-General, to lead the newly created the Scientific Conference Secretariat, unit. During her mandate the SCS organized 39 Conferences and 10 schools of physics, and was also ‘loaned’ to laboratories in other countries to help with their conferences and schools. She acquired an international reputation for this work and CERN became the first physics laboratory in Europe to possess a specialized unit of this kind.

In 1971 she left the SCS to assist Charles Peyrou, the leader of the Track Chambers (TC) Division. A large part of her work involved the compilation of a list of reports from laboratories worldwide on the experiments carried out at CERN : Yellow reports CERN-76-02 and CERN-76-02-Add.1. It took four years to collect and list around 1,000 reports. She retired from CERN in September 1976, but was called back to organize the inauguration of the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) in May 1977, which was attended by 3,000 participants.

She continued her interest in travel and her work as a hospital volunteer during her retirement, and spent ten years assembling the archives of the English Church in Geneva and writing its history. She was awarded the MBE in 1973 and died in 2001.

* Source

A 'one and only' looks back - Author: Steel, Ella Wentworth Dyne
CERN Courier, February 2002 (p.33)

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Miss E.W.D. Steel, January 1986

Content & Structure [Top]

Scope and content

The collection contains minutes, proposals, letters of intent and lists of publication of scientific committees:

  • Electronic Experiments Committee (EEC) and Physics I Committee (PH-I-COM),
  • Emulsion Committee (EmC) and Physics III Committee (PH-III-COM)
  • Nuclear Physics Committee (NPRC),
  • Track Chambers Committee (TCC), including list of proposals and approved experiments
  • Super Proton Synchrotron Committee (SPSC,
  • Intersecting Storage Rings Committee (ISRC).

It also contains reports and list of publications of Theory (TH), Track Chambers (TC) and Nuclear Physics (NP) divisions and Gargamelle Users meeting minutes, BEBC (Big European bubble Chamber) and HBC200 (Hydrogen Bubble Chamber 2 m) Internal reports, ECFA working groups’ documents between 1971 to 1973.

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 26th April 2013