On Friday 13 September 2013, the Laboratory of the Linear Accelerator [LAL] and the Laboratory for the Use of Electromagnetic Radiation [LURE] accelerator complex – located in Orsay, France – became the 8th EPS Historic Site. The ceremony took place in the “Pierre Marin” room which hosts ACO, a former collider and storage ring for synchrotron light, now registered French historical monument and open to the public.
After speeches from John Dudley, the President of the European Physical Society [EPS]; Martial Ducloy, former President of the EPS and the French Physical Society [SFP]; and the LAL physicist Georges Szklarz, two plates listing the milestones achieved in this area were unveiled. One will be positioned at the entrance of the main building of the LAL, close to the existing plate, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the laboratory in 2006. The other will remain in the “Pierre Marin” room, which is the core of the Sciences ACO museum dedicated to matter and light and which receives more than 1 000 visitors a year.
The EPS award ceremony proceeded smoothly under the aegis of a full-scale model of the “Annello Di Accumulazione” [AdA] storage ring owned by the “Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati” [LNF]. This accelerator, built in Frascati in 1960-1961 by a small team led by Bruno Touschek, provided the first ever electron-positron collisions in 1963, a year after having moved to the LAL where it benefited from the new – and then state-of-the-art – LAL “linac” as injector. The so-called “Touschek” effect, still limiting the performances of low-energy and high-current machines, was discovered with AdA as well. The AdA successes were the first of a series of achievements in the accelerator complex: colliders, storage rings for synchrotron light, free-electron laser technology, physics studies, etc.
The area was first operated by the LAL alone, joined in 1973 by the LURE which is now the SOLEIL synchrotron, the French 3rd generation machine. After almost 50 years of operation, the LAL linac was turned off for the last time in December 2003.
The presentation of the EPS award was one of the many events organized by the LAL, in association with the LNF, the Sciences ACO association and the cities of Orsay, Bures-sur-Yvette and Frascati. More details can be found on the LAL website.
On Friday morning, there was a special edition of the “Bruno Touschek Memorial Lectures” dedicated to accelerators. In the afternoon, the museum Sciences ACO inaugurated a new exhibition room (displaying for the first time the control room of the LAL linac) with the Paris-Sud University president. The day ended with a public event in town, where the Orsay and Frascati mayors strengthened their scientific twining which was initiated two years ago – for the BTML 2011 conference. The following weekend was the “European Heritage Days” period and so both the LAL and Sciences ACO had open days, offering visits and conferences.