Particle physics in France has a long tradition drawing its legacy from the Curie’s and Becquerel. France was a founding member of CERN, and is one of the two Host States. French Scientists brought important contributions to the major experiments. France has also contributed to the development of accelerators at CERN, for instance the linear injector for LEP and the quadrupoles for LHC.
Two French scientists have served as Directors-General of CERN: Bernard Gregory (1966-1970) and Robert Aymar (2004-2008).
In France, particle, astroparticle and nuclear physics are mostly based in two major institutes: the National Institute for Nuclear and Particle Physics (IN2P3), which is part of the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS); and the Institute of Research into the Fundamental Laws of the Universe (IRFU) of the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). IN2P3 was established in 1971 as a CNRS institute devoted to particle and nuclear physics, and more recently also to astroparticle physics. IN2P3 and IRFU have developed strong competences in all technical fields related to particle physics: detectors, electronics, computing, accelerators and superconducting magnets. Both institutions maintain close links to university-based research.
French researchers participate in all four major LHC experiments (ATLAS, CMS LHCb and ALICE). In addition to the LHC programme and for the longer term, French laboratories are also deeply involved in accelerator and detector R&D for the next linear collider (ILC or CLIC).