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CERN | Geneva | Switzerland

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Thoughts from the CERN Courier

It’s that time of year again. Leaves have left the trees in the woods around CERN, skiers are hoping that that the snow will come, and the editor of CERN Courier is already working on the first issue for 2012. In fact, as usual I’m just back from my ‘summer’ holiday – the publishing schedules being such that only in mid-November is there really time to down tools and escape from the computer screen, once the December issue (now published) has been ‘put to bed’. It’s also a time for many of us to look back at the year’s successes and forwards to fresh challenges in the New Year.

It’s been a remarkable year for CERN and, in particular, for the LHC experiments, which have collected far more data than many people dared hope. At the same time, at a more low-key level, it’s been an exciting year for the CERN Courier, with a new design for the first time since 1998. Thanks to the efforts of the team at IOP Publishing and Jesse Karjalainen, the production editor, in particular, the magazine now has a new dynamic layout and lively covers that are befitting to the second decade of the 21st century.

At the same time, with great support from many contributors, we’ve continued the effort to focus content on particular events in the field, from the 40th anniversary of the world’s first hadron collider – CERN’s Intersecting Storage Rings – in January, to the 100th anniversary of superconductivity in November. Along the way we paid homage to Ernest Rutherford’s discovery of the nuclear atom, which had its centenary in May, and said ‘farewell’ to the world’s first superconducting accelerator and the LHC’s pioneering predecessor, the Tevatron at Fermilab. We looked not just at past glories but also to the future, with breakthroughs in trapping antimatter and the launch of the AMS spacecraft. And each month there have been reports from the LHC, with regular news as well more in-depth reviews, from ALICE in June to ATLAS in December.

With physics results flying out from production lines at the big experiments at the LHC, it has been difficult to keep pace, but we’ve tried at least to offer something along the lines of ‘result of the month’ from each of them. None of these has, yet, revealed the long-sought Higgs boson or signals of hoped-for new physics – but it’s still a case of ‘watch this space’ and next year could well prove pivotal. As I start to work on the plans for 2012, I have in mind that it may prove to be one of the most exciting years in particle physics for decades – although that will all depend on how nature really works.

At the same time, there’s an opportunity for the readers to make the magazine and the cerncourier.com website even better, with the first reader survey in ten years. So if you read CERN Courier, here’s the chance to let me know what you think of it and how the magazine and the website can be improved. Just visit http://cerncourier.com/survey to have your say – and the chance to win one of five CERN fleeces.

I’m looking forward to seeing what the readers have to say – as well as what exciting new physics results experiments not only at the LHC and elsewhere at CERN, but also around the world of particle physics are going to bring.

Christine Sutton

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