Science

CERN needs your help identifying mysterious photos

CERN is currently digitizing over 50 years of old black and white photographs, but researchers aren't sure what some photos depict (Photo: CERN)
CERN is currently digitizing over 50 years of old black and white photographs, but researchers aren't sure what some photos depict (Photo: CERN)
View 15 Images
The photos were taken before CERN went digital (Photo: CERN)
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The photos were taken before CERN went digital (Photo: CERN)
Even to a layman, the images are quite interesting (Photo: CERN)
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Even to a layman, the images are quite interesting (Photo: CERN)
CERN is currently digitizing over 50 years of old black and white photographs, but researchers aren't sure what some photos depict (Photo: CERN)
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CERN is currently digitizing over 50 years of old black and white photographs, but researchers aren't sure what some photos depict (Photo: CERN)
It's clearly a machine of some sort, but CERN doesn't anything else about it (Photo: CERN)
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It's clearly a machine of some sort, but CERN doesn't anything else about it (Photo: CERN)
The digitization project is a collaboration between the Collaboration and Information Services Group (IT-CIS) and the Scientific Information Service (GS-SIS (Photo: CERN)
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The digitization project is a collaboration between the Collaboration and Information Services Group (IT-CIS) and the Scientific Information Service (GS-SIS (Photo: CERN)
The photos were taken before CERN went digital (Photo: CERN)
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The photos were taken before CERN went digital (Photo: CERN)
CERN is currently digitizing over 50 years of old black and white photographs (Photo: CERN)
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CERN is currently digitizing over 50 years of old black and white photographs (Photo: CERN)
It's not a flywheel, we're reliably informed (Photo: CERN)
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It's not a flywheel, we're reliably informed (Photo: CERN)
It's not a flywheel, we're reliably informed (Photo: CERN)
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It's not a flywheel, we're reliably informed (Photo: CERN)
Just one of 120,00 black and white photos that CERN is currently digitizing (Photo: CERN)
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Just one of 120,00 black and white photos that CERN is currently digitizing (Photo: CERN)
If you know what this is, then let CERN know (Photo: CERN)
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If you know what this is, then let CERN know (Photo: CERN)
Even to a layman, the images are quite interesting (Photo: CERN)
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Even to a layman, the images are quite interesting (Photo: CERN)
CERN is currently digitizing over 50 years of old black and white photographs (Photo: CERN)
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CERN is currently digitizing over 50 years of old black and white photographs (Photo: CERN)
The digitization project is a collaboration between the Collaboration and Information Services Group (IT-CIS) and the Scientific Information Service (GS-SIS (Photo: CERN)
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The digitization project is a collaboration between the Collaboration and Information Services Group (IT-CIS) and the Scientific Information Service (GS-SIS (Photo: CERN)
If you know what this is, then let CERN know (Photo: CERN)
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If you know what this is, then let CERN know (Photo: CERN)

CERN is currently digitizing over 50 years worth of its old black and white photographs to make them searchable via the Cern Document Server. However, the subject of many of the photos has been lost in the sands of time and the researchers can’t work out what’s what. If you know your Large Hadron Collider from your Low Energy Antiproton Ring, then be sure to read on and lend a hand ...

The batch of 120,000 black and white images being digitized right now dates from between 1955 to 1985, and in some cases lack a written description. Though home to some of the world’s best minds, CERN’s team of researchers – made up of the Collaboration and Information Services Group (IT-CIS) and the Scientific Information Service (GS-SIS) – is stumped, and so has turned to the internet for help.

If you know what this is, then let CERN know (Photo: CERN)
If you know what this is, then let CERN know (Photo: CERN)

Even to a layman, the images are very interesting, though it’s anyone’s guess what they depict. If you feel up to the challenge, be sure to check out the selection in the gallery, and then visit the source link below for CERN’s photo archive contact details.

Source: CERN

4 comments
California Fogg
I apprenticed as an experimental machinist at the Super Heavy Ion Linear Accellerator at Lawrence Berkeley, the lab of Nobel laureates Seaborg and Alvarez. In those days, mid-Seventies, the beams were steered by electromagnets and accellerated by electromagnets, within various diameters of metalic cyclinders. After being accellerated, the particles switched from the accelerator to a target chamber, crashed into a target, Bob's your Uncle! The gizmo with the drive belt is a rotational or perhaps a linear positioner, meant to nudge something from a bit off into the sweet spot. The long tubes are the vacuum tubes/cylinders/pipes, meant to conduct the particles through space to the next acceleration cycle or to a target. The 5+ photo at the end is a target holder, as you can see that the electron beam has eroded the middle. CERN certainly has access to many many people from around the world who could give each of these things a part number and an experiment use profile. For me, it is interesting to note that this segment of vacuum/electric/mechanical fabrication also was used to fabricate the first integrated chips ( in lower power, depositing material in layers. ) I'm particularly fond of the early experiements in building sensors, a useful sciene which has found its way into massive production. At the time, it seemed that gravitational and rotational sensors would be universal in the late 70's ... For fans of scientific imagery, the UC Berkeley collection would have very similar bits, already digitized and labeled. Google ought to try out its search by this image ( CERN provided ) through the filter of ( SuperHILAC ) to see what these objects were called in California.
Slowburn
This calls into question of the quality of science being done at CERN labs. The experiment does not matter if the data is not fully recorded.
Dave Rooster
picture 14 is a of a variable speed motor stator where the brush gear moves to provide the speed control I belive a bobst carton making machine was still using the same design in the late 80's this may be a smaller design used for exact positioning of moving components before stepper motors
Michael Sharp
Picture #12 looks like the same sort of reflectors placed on the Moon for the laser reflectivity tests from Earth...