Austria became a Member State of CERN in 1959. At that time, CERN offered the ideal framework for Austria to achieve international standards of research quickly and efficiently. In 1966 the Institute for High Energy Physics of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (HEPHY) was founded. At the same time a small group was formed at the University of Innsbruck. Subsequently, Austrian physicists have been strongly involved in various frontier experiments at a succession of CERN accelerators: the ISR, the SPS, the proton-antiproton collider and LEP.
Two physicists of Austrian origin served as Directors-General of CERN: Victor Weisskopf (1961-1965) and Willibald Jentschke (1971-1975).
Today, the Institute of High Energy Physics of the Austrian Academy of Sciences is involved in the CMS experiment at the LHC. It is responsible for a large part of the CMS trigger system and is participating in the construction of the Inner Silicon Tracker and associated read-out electronics. The Institute also has specialists in advanced data analysis methods for track and vertex finding. The Innsbruck group is participating in the ATLAS experiment, concentrating on developing software for physics analysis. During the next years, Austrian physicists will concentrate on the full exploitation of the physics potential of the LHC experiments. HEPHY regularly organizes the well established ‘Vienna Conference on Instrumentation’. In the past, the ‘European Conference on Accelerators’, the European School of High Energy Physics, and the CERN schools on computing and on accelerators have been held in Austria.