CERN1, the laboratory which invented the World Wide Web has re-invented its public web site. The new face of CERN has gone live at http://www.cern.ch/Public . CERN's new web pages have been designed to give visitors an informative introduction to the fascinating world of particle physics. For those whose whirl around the web only allows a short stop, there's the "CERN in two minutes" page. Others with more time on their hands can browse to their heart's content through pages describing every aspect of CERN and it's work from the most esoteric physics to medical applications and the World Wide web itself. There's an introduction from the Director-General and an account of how the web was born. Up-to-the-minute news of what's going on at the laboratory is also available, and for the intrepid, a trip into the working pages of physics experiments beckons.
The World Wide web was invented at CERN by British scientist Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 and quickly became a working tool for communication between physicists around the world. CERN immediately recognised the web's value and, in keeping with Laboratory policy, made the work freely available and invited others to get involved. As more and more computer scientists started to work on the web, it was only a matter of time before it escaped from the academic world onto a wider stage. The crucial moment came in 1993 when the US National Center for Supercomputing Applications launched the Mosaic browser programmes, bringing web access to anyone with a Unix, Macintosh or PC computer. Few innovations have had such a massive and immediate impact on world culture. The reins of web power were soon passed to the World Wide Web consortium, set up for that purpose by CERN, France's INRIA, and the Massachusetts Institute of technology (MIT) in 1994 and directed by Berners-Lee. From then on, CERN could concentrate on developing the web as a tool for its everyday work. Those who venture into the CERN Users' web site might catch a glimpse where that has led, but for most visitors a colourful, entertaining, and informative introduction to the World's leading particle physics research laboratory is in store.