Italy was a founding Member State of CERN in 1954, and Italian scientists have made strong contributions to almost all important projects that have marked the history of the laboratory. Two Italian physisists acceded to the position of CERN Director-General: Nobel laureate Carlo Rubbia (1989-1993) and Luciano Maiani (1999-2003).
In Italy, the community of physicists working on high-energy physics is organised through the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), which unites approximately 5,000 researchers, most of which work in collaboration with universities. INFN was founded in 1951 with the objective of continuing and expanding research that had been started in the 1930s by the school of Enrico Fermi. INFN is responsible for promoting, coordinating, and developing scientific research in the field of nuclear physics, subnuclear physics, and astrophysics.
INFN has also developed "INFN Grid", a supercomputing grid infrastructure, and it acts as the coordinator of European projects that are contributing to expanding this project to Asia, in particular, India and China.
Italian industry has constructed important components for the LHC, using very advanced technology. Of the 20 countries that produce industrial equipment for CERN and LHC, Italy is one of the three leading producers in the sectors of civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, in vacuum technology, and in cryogenics.