Archives of John Stewart Bell

Identity Statement [Top]

Reference code(s)

CERN-ARCH-BELL-001 to 019


Archives of John Stewart Bell


No date - 1991

Level of description


Extent of the unit of description

7 boxes, 19 items, 1 linear metres

Context [Top]

Name of creator

John Stewart Bell (CERN Theory Division) and TH Secretariat

Biographical history

John Stewart Bell was an Irish physicist. He obtained a bachelor's degree in experimental physics from Queen's University of Belfast in 1948 and another in mathematical physics a year later. He completed a Ph.D. in physics at the University of Birmingham in 1956, specialising in nuclear physics and quantum field theory.

In 1949 he started his career at UK Atomic Energy Research Establishment. He moved to the CERN laboratory in November 1960. He worked almost exclusively on theoretical particle physics and on accelerator design, but found time to pursue a major avocation, investigating the foundations of quantum theory.

In 1964, after a year's leave from CERN that he spent at Stanford University, the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Brandeis University, he sent a paper entitled "On the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen Paradox" (November 1964) to the journal Physics. The journal was short-lived, but the paper became famous, outlining what is now known as Bell's theorem and laying the foundations for the modern field of quantum-information science.

This theorem is a "no-go theorem" that draws an important distinction between quantum mechanics and the world as described by classical mechanics particularly concerning quantum entanglement where two or more particles in a quantum state continue to be mutually dependent at large physical separations.

John Stewart Bell died in 1990.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

CERN Theory Department Secretariat, 2018

Content & Structure [Top]

Scope and content

This collection contains working files and correspondence. It includes correspondance with Jon Magne Leinaas about some articles:

  •  Electrons as accelerated thermometers" written by Jon Magne Leinaas and John Stewart Bell in July 1982 – CERN-TH-3363
  •  The Unruh effect in extended thermometers in July 1984 - CERN-TH-3948
  •  The Unruh effect and quantum fluctuations of electrons in storage rings in June 1986 – CERN-TH-4468

The collection also contains transparencies of the Symposium on quantum physics in memory of John Stewart Bell, New aspects of Bell's Theorem held at CERN, 2-3 May 1991. The participants were A. Shimony, J. M. Leinaas, K. Gottfreid, H. Rauch, A. J. Leggett, A. Aspect, G. C. Ghirardi, and R. Jackiw

To see Videos and transparencies of participants

There are also a few photos, one VHS cassette and some punched cards.

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, September 2018