Archives of Accelerator Research Division, AR
Archives of Intersecting Storage Rings Division and committee, ISR and ISRC
1961 - 1983
Level of description
Extent of the unit of description
371 boxes, 906 items, 41 linear metres
Name of creator
CERN. Accelerator Research, AR Division
CERN. Intersecting Storage Rings, ISR Division
The Accelerator Research group was established in December 1956, as part of the PS (Proton Synchrotron) Division, in order to undertake research on the design of future machines. It remained quite small until the end of 1959, when the PS entered into operation, after which more resources were transferred to this area. At first only a small number of members were CERN staff, but this changed in 1958. In 1961 the AR group became the AR division, which existed until 1966.
On 1st January 1967 the groups in AR Division were transferred to the Intersecting Storage Rings Division in the Department ISR Construction.
Proposals for new accelerators at CERN were under consideration from the late 1950s (see AR group above), with the main contenders being Intersecting Storage Rings (ISR) for the existing PS and construction of a new larger synchrotron. A new study group on accelerators, ECFA (European Committee for Future Accelerators), was set up at CERN following meetings in December 1962. In 1963 a Working Party of ECFA, comprising nine people, was set up under the chairmanship of Eduardo Amaldi. In its report the group recommended the construction of both the ISR and the 300 GeV proton synchrotron. In December 1965 the CERN Council approved the ISR project and continued study of the 300 GeV project (which was finally approved, as the SPS (Super Proton Synchrotron) in 1971).
In September 1965 France signed an agreement to provide about forty hectares of land, adjacent to the CERN site located on the Swiss border, for the construction of the ISR. In January 1966 the ISR Division was created and work started on ISR construction. In January 1969 the ISR Committee was set up and twelve experiments were accepted during this year. The ISR was inaugurated on 16 October 1971 and closed on 26 June 1984. The ISR division existed until 1983, when most of its staff moved to the new LEP division.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Collections were received from the following people:
Keith Potter, 1985 Roger Calder, July 1993
Kjell Johnsen, Director of the ISR Department from 1966 to 1975, August 1993
Richard Keyser, November 1993
Scope and content
The collection contains reports, correspondence, handbooks and official documents concerning the AR Group, the AR Division and the ISR Division.
The Intersecting Storage Rings at CERN provided head-on collisions between protons in two counter-rotating beams. Protons supplied by CERN's Proton Synchrotron were injected clockwise into one of the rings and counterclockwise into the other, where they could be maintained in a stable orbit for many hours. The two identical rings, 300m in diameter, were interlaced and intersected at 8 points where the proton beams collided head on, with an impact equivalent to that made with a normal type of accelerator of a much higher energy. For example, two 26-GeV colliding beams correspond to a 1500-GeV beam hitting a stationary target, because no recoil energy is wasted. When the ISR began to operate on 27 January 1971, with two proton beams of energy up to 27 GeV each, it was the only proton storage ring machine in the world.
In 1973 the first important discoveries from the experiments at the ISR showed that protons grow in size as their energy is increased; and particles emerging at wide angles revealed scattering between the constituent particles deep inside the protons.
In order to transfer so many particles from the synchrotron and stack them in tight bunches, many technological challenges had to be overcome. New high vacuum techniques had to be developed and new methods for controlling particle beams mastered. The knowledge and expertise gained were helpful to CERN in its subsequent colliding beam projects. In particular, the invention of 'stochastic cooling' by Simon van der Meer (which was successfully tested in the ISR in 1965) enabled unruly beams to be tightly controlled. In 1979 CERN capitalized on its ISR investment by deciding to convert its new SPS proton synchrotron into the world's first proton-antiproton collider. Van der Meer's beam cooling scheme was the key to its success.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information
All items have been kept in order in which they were received. Nothing was destroyed
Further accruals may be received.
System of arrangement
Accelerator Research (AR) Group
|1||Administration and General||CERN-ARCH-AR-1-1-001 to 1-5-010|
|2||Reports and notes||CERN-ARCH-AR-2-001 to 2-003|
|3||AR/SG (Study Group)||CERN-ARCH-AR-3-1-001 to 3-5-031|
|4||Internal reports||CERN-ARCH-AR-4-1-001 to 4-1-004|
Intersecting Storage Rings (ISR) Division
Administration and general
01. Group leader meetings
CERN-ARCH-ISR-01-01-001 to 017
|02||ISR Projects||CERN-ARCH-ISR-02-001 to 005|
|03||Long term development||CERN-ARCH-ISR-03-1-001 to 03-3-001|
|04||ISR Experiments||CERN-ARCH-ISR-04-1-001 to|
|05||TT2||CERN-ARCH-ISR-05-1-001 to 05-3-001|
|06||Committees||CERN-ARCH-ISR-06-1-001 to 06-8-003|
|07||ISR Running-in + performance||CERN-ARCH-ISR-07-01-001 to 07-15-001|
|08||MOC (Machine Operation Committee)||CERN-ARCH-ISR-08-1-001 to 08-4-001|
|09||BEIC (Beam Equipment Interaction Committee)||CERN-ARCH-ISR-09-1-001 to 09-3-001|
|11||ISR Decommissioning||CERN-ARCH-ISR-11-1-001 to 11-2-001|
ISR-Experimental Support Group (ES)
01. Administration and general
CERN-ARCH-ISR-12-01-001 to 028
ISR-Computer Group (CO)
CERN-ARCH-ISR-13-01-001 to 008
01. Performance reports
CERN-ARCH-ISR-14-01-001 to 002
Divisional reports from 1966 to 1983
CERN-ARCH-ISR-15-001 to 023
Slides and photos construction of the ISR
CERN-ARCH-ISR-16-001 to 007
Workshop documents 14-21/09/1977
Intersecting Storage Rings Committee (ISRC)
|CERN-ARCH-ISRC-1-01-001 to 006|
ISRC Documents: working files
|CERN-ARCH-ISRC-1-02-001 to 009|
|CERN-ARCH-ISRC-1-03-001 to 005|
|04||Meetings: notes||CERN-ARCH-ISRC-1-04-001 to 002|
|05||ISRC Correspondence||CERN-ARCH-ISRC-1-05-001 to 013|
|06||ISRC General documents||CERN-ARCH-ISRC-1-06-001 to 006|
|07||Proposals||CERN-ARCH-ISRC-1-07-001 to 006|
|09||ISR experiments by intersection||CERN-ARCH-ISRC-1-09-001 to 006|
|10||ISR experiments by year and by number||CERN-ARCH-ISRC-1-10-001 to 069|
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 and French.
Listed to file level in the CERN Archive Database.