Geneva, 21 October 2008. Swiss President Pascal Couchepin and French Prime Minister François Fillon were joined at CERN* today by science ministers from CERN’s Member States and around the world to inaugurate the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instrument.
“Today is a day for CERN to thank its Member States for their continued support for basic science, and for providing the stable framework that makes science of this kind possible,” said CERN Director General Robert Aymar. “It is also a day for CERN and the global particle physics community to take a sense of pride in the achievement of bringing this unique facility from dream to reality, a process that has taken over two decades of careful planning, prototyping and construction, culminating with the successful circulation of the machine’s first protons in front of a global audience on 10 September this year.”
The inauguration ceremony consisted of speeches, exhibitions and a new audiovisual concert, “ORIGINS”, an adaptation of “LIFE: A Journey Through Time”, featuring the imagery of National Geographic photographer Frans Lanting and the music of Philip Glass, performed by the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande conducted by Carolyn Kuan.
“The younger generations target their ambitions on what they experience while growing up,” said President of CERN Council, Torsten Åkesson. “Science and technology need flagships that stand out and catch the eye, excite fantasy and fuel curiosity. The LHC is one such flagship.”
The ceremony was followed by a buffet of molecular gastronomy presented by Chef Ettore Bocchia, and was made possible thanks to the generous support of a range of sponsoring companies and organizations**, most of which have contributed to the construction of the LHC.
“The LHC is the largest and most sophisticated scientific instrument ever built. There have been many challenges along the way, which have all been overcome one after the other,” said LHC Project Leader Lyndon Evans. “We are now looking forward to the start of the experimental programme. The adventure of building the LHC will end and a new adventure of discovery will begin.”