Archives of Herwig F. Schopper, Director-General of CERN 1981-1988

Identity Statement [Top]

Reference code(s)



Archives of Herwig F. Schopper, Director-General of CERN from 1981 to 1988


1971 - 1991

Level of description


Extent of the unit of description

666 items, 31 linear metres

Context [Top]

Name of creator

Herwig F. Schopper

Biographical history

Born in 1924, Herwig Schopper became a Research Associate at CERN from 1966-1967.

1970-1971 : leader of the Nuclear Physics Division.

1972 : member of the Directorate and responsible for the Co-ordination of the Experimental Programme.

1973-1975 : chairman of the ISR Committee. 1978-1980 : member of the Scientific Policy Committee.

1981-1988 : Director-General.

Following Léon Van Hove and John Adams' years as Director-General for Research and Executive Director-General, Schopper's years as CERN's Director-General culminated in the successful construction of LEP (Large Electron-Positron Collider) with the installation and the first successful tests of the four detectors for the LEP experiments (OPAL, DELPHI, ALEPH and L3). In order to make sufficient resources available for the realization of LEP, several facilities had to be closed (notably ISR, BEBC and EHS). Schopper's office included the awarding of two Nobel Prizes for Physics :

• In 1984 the prize was awarded jointly to Carlo Rubbia and Simon van der Meer for their decisive contributions to the large project which lead to the discovery of the field particles W and Z, communicators of weak interaction.

• In 1988, Jack Steinberger, continuing his research work at CERN, was a joint recipient of the prize (together with Leon M. Lederman and Melvin Schwartz, USA) for the neutrino beam method and the demonstration of the doublet structure of the leptons through the discovery of the muon neutrino. Carlo Rubbia succeeded Herwig Schopper in January 1989.

Herwig Schopper had many other activities outside CERN.

1973 : he accepted the chairmanship of the Board of Directors at the DESY Laboratory (Germany). Later he became Director of the Laboratory.

1977 : he visited China and took part in the development of relations to help set up the first international collaboration in physics after the cultural revolution. He was also chairman of SESAME Interim Council (Synchrotron-light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East) and chairman of Scientific Council of ROSTE (Regional Office of UNESCO for Science and Technology in Europe) In the scientific field, he participated, amongst other things, in an experiment on parity violation in beta-decay and in the development of hadron energy measurement. He was editor of Landoldt-Boernstein Tables.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Helga Schmal, 1994

Content & Structure [Top]

Scope and content

These documents represent the filing system of Herwig F. Schopper during the period he was Director-General of CERN. They cover all aspects of CERN's activities and include :

• Correspondence

• Meetings of the Directorate, Management Board,...

• Staff, finance and divisional management

• External relations (Member States, International and European Organisations, High Energy Physics Laboratories,...)

• Visits, ceremonies, invitations

• LEP management board, experiments, computing,...

• Technical and scientific matters (committees, experiments,... : PS, ISR, SPS)

• Conferences, CERN school

• Schopper's personal files

CERN equipment discussed in this collection :

The Synchro-Cyclotron (SC) was the first accelerator built at CERN. It was commissioned successfully in 1957 with its first proton beam. In 1967, an Isotope Separator On Line DEtector (ISOLDE) was built : it was a facility for nuclear chemistry, placed on-line with the extracted proton beam. In 1974, it was replaced by ISOLDE 2. SC closed in 1990.

SC was conceived as an intermediate device until the Proton Synchrotron (PS) was operational in 1959. With this proton accelerator, a completely new energy range would be opened up, European scientists would work under conditions comparable to those in the USA and CERN would become an important laboratory in the field of the high energy physics. The PS was equipped with bubble chambers (Gargamelle, BEBC,...), the Omega Spectrometer in 1972, the LEAR (Low Energy Antiproton Ring) in 1982, the detector European Hybrid System (EHS) the same year...

The Intersecting Storage Rings (ISR), the third of the principal CERN accelerators, worked with the PS. When the ISR began to operate in 1971, it was the only proton storage ring machine in the world. It provided head-on collisions between protons in two counter-rotating beams.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. In 1979 CERN capitalized on its ISR investment by deciding to convert its new SPS into the world's first proton-antiproton collider.

The Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS) (400 GeV), commissioned in 1976, was CERN's fourth accelerator. It is a circular accelerator, 7 km in circumference, buried underground. Originally built to accelerate protons, it since operated as a proton-antiproton collider, a heavy-ion accelerator and an electron/positron injector for the LEP.

The Large Electron Positron (LEP) was the largest particle collider in the world (27 km in circumference) and began operation in the summer of 1989 circulating electrons and positrons (antielectrons) in opposite directions at almost the speed of light. LEP is equipped with 4 detectors : OPAL (Omni-Purpose Apparatus for LEP), DELPHI (DEtector with Lepton Photon and Hadron Identification), ALEPH (Apparatus for LEP pHysics) and L3 (which drew its name from being the subject of the third letter of intent for a LEP experiment).

Since the mid-1980s, a new round of discussions has been taking place with the aim of defining various options for the post-LEP era. In December 1994 CERN's governing body, Council, officially approved the construction of CERN's Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The LHC is an accelerator which brings protons and ions into head-on collisions at higher energies than ever achieved before. This will allow scientists to penetrate still further into the structure of matter and recreate the conditions prevailing in the early universe, just after the "Big Bang".

CERN collaborations discussed in this collection

In 1954, CERN was created with 12 founding Member States : Federal Republic of Germany, Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, Italy, Norway, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland and Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia left in 1961. Austria and Spain joined in 1959 and 1961 respectively - Spain left in 1969 and rejoined in 1983. Member States provide financial contributions in proportion to their Net National Incomes.

High energy physics laboratories

ANL : Argonne National Laboratory is one of the U.S. Department of Energy's largest research centers, chartered in 1946. Operated by the University of Chicago, it was a part of the World War Two Manhattan Project to build the atomic bomb. After the war, Argonne was given the mission of developing nuclear reactors for peaceful purposes. Over the years, Argonne's research expanded to include many other areas of science, engineering and technology : basic science, scientific facilities, energy resources and environmental management.

BNL : established in 1947, Brookhaven National Laboratory is a multi-program national laboratory operated by Brookhaven Science Associates for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Its role for the DOE is to produce excellent science and advanced technology with the cooperation, support, and appropriate involvement of its scientific and local communities.

DESY : Deutsche Elektronen-Synchrotron is a national center of basic physics research, located in Hamburg and Zeuthen. The particle physics research started in 1965.

Fermilab : installed in Batavia, Illinois (U.S), it is the largest high-energy physics laboratory in the United States, and second in the world only to CERN. Originally named the National Accelerator Laboratory, it was commissioned by the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in 1967. Fermilab is dedicated to research in particle physics, with the goal of understanding the fundamental nature of matter, space, and time. It operates the Tevatron, the world's highest-energy particle accelerator and collider. 

GSF : Gesellschaft für Stralhenforschung, created in 1960s, is a member of the Hermann von Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers. It is located at Neuherberg, in Germany. Its research aims to maintain health in humans and a healthy environment.

GSI : Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung mbH is a heavy ion research center founded by the Federal Government of Germany and the state of Hesse in 1970 at Darmstadt in Germany. The laboratory performs basic and applied research in physics and related natural science disciplines using a heavy ion accelerator facility.

Jülich : this Research Centr in Germany is one of the largest research institutions in Europe. Scientists from many different disciplines including physics, chemistry, biology, medicine and engineering work together.

ILL : Institut Laue-Langevin, based in Grenoble, France, is an international research centre and world leader in neutron science and technology. Founded in 1967 on the initiative of France, Germany and the United Kingdom, its aim was to create an intense source of neutrons entirely dedicated to civil fundamental research. Today, it operates the most intense neutron source in the world.

KEK : High Energy Accelerator Research Organisation was founded in 1971 in Ibaraki (Japan) for research in particle and nuclear physics and material science using advanced accelerators and related facilities.

LAMPF : Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility was a linear accelerator built in 1968 in the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE), a pulsed-spallation neutron source located at Los Alamos National Laboratory (U.S).

LBL : Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was founded in 1931 by Ernest Orlando Lawrence, who invented the cyclotron. Located above the University of California at Berkeley (U.S.), it was known as a mecca of particle physics and later broadened its focus.

MIT : Massachusetts Institute of Technology (U.S.) opened in 1870. It is a coeducational, privately endowed research university, dedicated to advancing knowledge and educating students in science, technology, and other areas of scholarship.

MPI : Max-Planck Instituts are national or European 'centres of excellence' in basic research. The Max-Planck-Institut für Kernphysikinm Heidelberg performs basic research on two broad fields in experimental and theoretical physics. On one hand this concerns the physics of complex many-particle systems as they occur in nuclear, atomic and molecular physics and applications in atmosheric physics, on the other hand research in the region of particle physics and astro particle physics.

SIN : Since 1974, the Swiss Institute for Nuclear Research, located in Villigen, had concentrated on experiments in core and elementary particle physics on its own accelerators. In 1988, it became the Paul Scherrer Institut (PSI) after merging with the Swiss Federal Institut for Reactor Research (EIR).

SLAC : Stanford Linear Accelerator Center is one of the world is leading research laboratories. Established in 1962, it is located at Stanford University (U.S.). Its mission is to design, construct and operate state-of-the-art electron accelerators and related experimental facilities for use in high-energy physics and synchrotron radiation research.

TRIUMF : TRI-University Meson Facility, established in 1968, is Canada's national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics. Located on the campus of the University of British Columbia with the world's largest cyclotron, it works towards a clearer understanding of the subatomic particles and fundamental forces that determine every aspect of the universe. It is a member of the international subatomic physics community.

European Organisations

ECFAEuropean Committee for Future Accelerators was set up at the beginning of 1963 on the initiative of Prof. Weisskopf, then Director-General of CERN and of Prof. Powell, Chairman of the CERN Scientific Policy Committee. It has several aims: to establish long-range planning of European high-energy facilities adequate for the conduct of a valid high-energy research programme by the community of physicists in the participating countries, to find an equilibrium between the roles of international and national laboratories and university institutes in this research, to create close relations between research and education in high-energy physics and other fields and to foster adequate conditions for research and a just and equitable sharing of facilities between physicists as conducive to a successful collaborative effort. ECFA is advisory to CERN Management, CERN Council and its Committees, and to other organizations, national or international. Traditionally, physicists from the countries which were Members of CERN in 1966 participate in ECFA. CERN is also considered as a "country".

EPS : European Physical Society provides an international forum for physicists and acts as a federation of national physical societies. Founded in 1968, the EPS worked to promote the interests of physics in Europe. Its activities revolve around the themes of promoting excellent physics research, supplying a European view on important questions relating to physics, and acting as a catalyst bringing together physicists in different countries, and a liaison between physicists working in different fields.

ESF : European Science Foundation is an association established in 1974. It has coordinated a wide range of pan-European scientific initiatives. Its aim is to act as a catalyst for the development of science by bringing together leading scientists and research funding agencies to debate, plan and implement pan-European initiatives.

ESO : European Southern Observatory was created in 1962 to "establish and operate an astronomical observatory in the southern hemisphere, equipped with powerful instruments, with the aim of furthering and organising collaboration in astronomy". It operates astronomical observatories in Chile and has its headquarters in Garching, near Munich, Germany.

CODEST : COmité de Développement Européen de la Science et de la Technologie

RARE : Reseaux Associes pour le Recherche Europeenne is an association of national and international networks and users founded in 1986.

International Organisations

ICFA : International Committee for Future Accelerators was created in 1976 by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) to facilitate international collaboration in the construction and use of accelerators for high energy physics.

ICTP : International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste was founded in 1964 by Abdus Salam. It operates under the aegis of two United Nations Agencies: UNESCO and IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and by agreement with the Government of Italy which provides the major part of the Centre's funding. One of the main aims of the ICTP is to foster the growth of advanced studies and research in the developing countries.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information

Nothing was destroyed.


No further accruals are expected.

System of arrangement

CERN General Matters : CERN Library and Archives, CERN and Industry, brochures, restaurants, general

Correspondence : chronos, correspondence, CERN general, condolences, congratulations

Studies on CERN : British Review, University of Sussex

CERN Review Committee : general, comments, CERN users, personnel, working groups


Financial Matters : budgets, monthly situation, external auditors, taxes, contributions of Member States, general

High energy physics : HEP Labs, Computing Coordination Committee, submissions and reports

LEP : Management Board, Finance Review Committee, construction agreement, correspondence, Experiments Committee, Machine Advisory Committee, project, Project Committee, Commissioning Committee, working group on LEP Operation, experiments, computing, security INB, ceremonies and events, commission d'arbitrage EUROLEP

Directorate : Members, meetings, general

DG Staff : office, DG Services and Staff, invitations and cards, reports, communications

Council : correspondence, President's Group meetings

Management Board

Research Board

CERN Committees : ACCU, Standing Advisory Committee, Standing Concertation Committee, others

Public relations : public relations, newspaper cuttings, press releases, general

Relations with Host States : Comité des Relations avec les Etats-Hôtes, France, Switzerland

Member States : Republic of Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Federal Republic of Germany, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

Collaboration with Non-Member States : alphabetical files, People's Republic of China, Spain, USSR

European Organisations : CODEST, Council of Europe, European Parliament, ECFA, EPS, ESF, ESO, RARE

International Organisations : files of International Organisations, World Economic Forum, ICFA, ICSU, ICTP, World Laboratory

USA : Superconducting Super Collider (SSC), US Congress, Department of Energy, general and visits to CERN

Scientific Matters : external, internal

Technical Matters : electricity, Technical Boards, other matters

Safety and Accidents : safety, accidents, Enquiry Committees

Experiments Committees : files of Experiments Committees, general expenses, PSCC, ISRC, SPSC

CERN Experiments and Facilities : ACOL and AAC, BEBC, Co-ordinators, Conge II, Jet, Isolde, Lead Ion Accelerating Facility, LEAR, LHC, LINAC Klystrons, Machine Experiments Interface Committee, PP-Project, schedules, SPS experiments

CERN conferences and schools : conferences and summer schools, CERN Accelerator School, ESO-CERN Symposium, Fonds Bernard Gregory

Invitations : conferences-schools-visits, others

Visists, ceremonies & exhibitions : visits, ceremonies, open days

Schopper's personal files : publications and correspondence, Membership of scientific bodies

Personnel : Staff Reviews, policies, study and working groups, staffing, general, associations and clubs, training, fellows, associates, students, commissions and committees

CERN Divisions : Divisional Planning Officers, Deputies, Data Handling Division, Documentation Department, Experimental Physics Division, Experimental Physics Facility Division, Finance, ISR Division, LEP Main Ring Division, Management Information Service, Personnel, PS Division, SPS Division, TIS, Technical Services and Building Division, Technical Support, Theoretical Physics Division

LAA project


Council papers : Committee of Council, SPC, FC

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, French and German. Several documents are written in Italian, Japanese, Dutch, Russian, Spanish, Chinese, Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Greek and Danish

Finding aids

Listed to file level in the CERN Archive Database.

Description control [Top]

Archivist's note

Description prepared by Marie Lefeuvre

Date(s) of description

Geneva, the 12th September 2002, Revised 2007.

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