CERN Accelerating science

The CERN Experimental Programme
Grey Book database
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This Web site provides access to the current experimental programme at CERN.

The list of experiments at CERN was published annually from 1975 to 1999 in a printed version of the so called Grey Book. Since the year 2000 CERN's experimental programme and projects are summarized electronically in the Grey Book database.

The current experiments generally use one of the following machines or facilities:

  • Large Hadron Collider (LHC),
  • Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS),
  • Proton Synchrotron (PS),
  • Antiproton Decelerator (AD) for slow antiprotons,
  • ISOLDE facility for short-lived ions,
  • CTF3 – Compact Linear Collider test facility
  • Irradiation Facility for radiation tests,
  • Neutrino Platform for neutrino detector R&D.
  • Non-accelerator based experiments

Research & Development (R&D) projects aimed at developing new detector technologies and data acquisition systems for future experiments and non-accelerator based experiments using other installations at CERN are part of the research programme.

Recognized Experiments are not part of but officially recognized to complement CERN's Scientific Research Programme.

Experiments and Projects under Study are in a preparatory phase or considered to provide important contributions in other domains. They may become part of the research programme at a later time.

A large number of completed experiments are listed including the experiments which used the Large Electron Positron Collider (LEP). Information about experiments completed prior to 1974 is gradually being added.

The Grey Book database stores data on the research programme of CERN namely its experiments and projects, their collaborating institutes and their participants including information on their scientific authorship.

This web site allows the reader to navigate between views on the current research activity, the experiment, the collaborating institutes and its current participants. A general search option is provided and targeted search options are available to operate in the context of the Grey Book Experiments, the Institutes or the Participants data. General information is offered from the Home Page view on the context in the introduction, about the content and on the criteria for inclusion.

Each experiment is usually presented together with the list of current participants and the official collaborating institutes. Each experiment of the ISOLDE facility is listed while their collaborating institutes and team members are grouped under ISOLDE. In analogy nTOF experiments are each listed while the collaborating institutes and participants are grouped under nTOF. For each experiment the abstract is provided as well as specific information about the scientific Spokesperson, the Contact Person, and people holding other roles. The approval date and the current status is given for each experiment.

Usually an experiment goes through the stages: Preparation – Data Taking – Completed. 10 years after completion it passes to the status Finished. Completed status means that data-taking has finished but the analysis may still be continuing. The experiments normally appear under the appropriate programme, with all the participants listed, until two years following the year of completion, after which they only appear in the "Completed Experiment" section together with the experiments which are in the Finished state. Links to the Experiment’s Home page and to the publications are included.

The information concerning experiments is maintained by the experiment secretariats for the larger experiments and by the Grey Book team for the smaller experiments. The validity of the data is the responsibility of the Spokesperson and the Contact Person for each experiment. Only participants of experiments who are registered as USER with the CERN Users' Office or as External Participant with the experimental secretariat appear in the Grey Book.

The Grey Book secretariat and the experiments' secretariats deserve full credit for collecting and preparing the material. They should be contacted for further information, or for comments and possible corrections, at the experiment secretariat e-mail address indicated on the experiment page.

The GS-AIS group is to be thanked for developing and maintaining the Web interface of the Grey Book.

Experiments or Projects

The Director-General of CERN establishes the experimental programme on the advice of the Research Board. The latter acts on recommendations made by the Experiment Committees. Experiments must follow the CERN approval process.

General conditions are applicable to experiments performed at CERN.

Funding agencies of the collaborating Institutes sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the experiment or an agreement of similar type with CERN. Once the experiment or project is approved a visiting research team is formed for each of its collaborating institutes. The institute nominates a team leader and his/her deputy. Subsequently the institute can send their collaborators to CERN to contribute in the team and within the agreed context to the planning, design, construction, maintenance, operation, upgrade or analysis to the experiment or project. When an experiment is approved, the Grey Book secretariat contacts the spokesperson for the necessary details.

Experiments approved by the Research Board appear in the Research Programme of the Grey Book. Current scientific authors and other participants are listed.

Recognized Experiments are not part of but complement CERN's Scientific Research Programme. These experiments, considered to be of importance to High Energy Physics, have been given, on a case by case basis, this recognition status by the Research Board. The groups concerned can benefit to a limited extent from CERN's infrastructure and services. Members are listed as participants and not as Grey Book authors.

Experiments or projects under Study are not approved by the Research Board but accepted to be listed in the Grey Book by the CERN management on an individual basis. Members are listed as participants and not as Grey Book authors.

The official references for the research programme are the Minutes of the Research Board and of the Experiment Committees.


Institutes are registered following the experiment approval or upon any later approval following as a decision of the collaboration board. The experimental secretariat creates a link between the experiment and the institute for the new visiting research team. An institute can participate in more than one experiment and thus may provide several visiting research teams.

Updates and corrections to the institute data should be sent to


People appear in the Grey Book if they are attached to a Team which satisfies the above criteria. They appear as ‘author’ if they are nominated so by the experiment.

Only those people who can sign Physics papers for the collaboration should appear as ‘author’, hence normally only physicists and engineers. Technicians may exceptionally appear if the Spokesperson considers that they have made an important contribution. The authorship of a person is set by the experimental secretariat. Only participants are listed for Experiments under Study.

A person may participate in more than one experiment and visiting research team with the exception that participating in more than one LHC experiment is not permitted.

Names appear as follows:

  • If defined, a Grey Book pseudonym is used
    If a person wishes to appear in the Grey Book with a name other than the one in their passport, a pseudonym is entered.
    The experiment secretariat is responsible for entering the pseudonym, but it can also be entered by the Users' Office when a person registers for the first time.
  • Only the first name is used (no middle names are displayed)
  • The Last name is always in uppercase
  • The Preferred name is ignored
  • Names are always displayed in the "First LAST" format