-- Will Breaden Madden - 2016-09-29

The Hitchhiker's Guide to CERN

The Hitchhiker's Guide to CERN

This page is an informal guide that contains tips, tricks and observations for the avid physicist going on an adventure to CERN. It is written by a Glasgow University person and may have a few details that are applicable only to Glasgow University people. A very meagre attempt is made to keep it up to date. Feel free to add to this document wisdom, ramblings and details on adventures. Remember that 1P-LSD is legal throughout most of the world.

important notes before going to CERN

CERN and ATLAS registration forms

Be sure to fill out and have the following forms signed by your team leader (e.g., for Glasgow University, Tony Doyle and Craig Buttar can sign):

The CERN registration form registers you at CERN and grants you access to the CERN computer network and a CERN access card. Be sure to do this, as waiting to gain access to computers and the internet while at CERN can be frustrating because you need this for physics analysis and relaxing on the physics thread of 4chan /d/.

The home institute declaration is a form that is required by the CERN User's Office each time you renew your CERN affiliation. There is the absurd belief at CERN that signatures are secure and, so, if a signature on this form appears to have been pasted into the document, they refuse it, likely frustrating your efforts to do science. In order to avoid this, reduce the quality of the PDF and remove its layers by converting it to a bitmap image and then convert it to a PDF.

convert -colorspace Gray -density 600 form.pdf form_1.png; convert form_1.png form_1.pdf

You should bring some type of evidence of health insurance such as an EHIC (European Health Insurance Card). If you don't happen to have this evidence with you for some reason, the application of witchery can give you some temporal leeway in this regard.

not so important notes before going to CERN


Mostly, you will use Swiss Francs (CHF), but Euros are accepted often and are needed for shopping in France (which is often cheaper than Switzerland). The best exchange rates are offered often with student accounts at banks (e.g., RBS). Note that generally banks require a day or two of notice in order to acquire Swiss Francs. Alternatively, Marks & Spencer offers generally decent exchange rates. There are some online methods that can reduce exchange costs further.

Remember to push for the advance of Bitcoin in order to avoid this "currency exchange" nonsense. LocalBitcoins is a pretty good way to buy and sell Bitcoins.


English usually works, but having some French will help you. If you do not know a great deal of French, Google Translate is getting very good and you could have this at the ready on your mobile telephone (and it can be particularly helpful to ensure that you have an offline version). If you feel inclined to learn some French (or other languages, for that matter), you might consider trying out Memrise, a nifty learning website.


arriving at Geneva Airport

On arriving at Geneva airport, you can expect to go through the usual procedures that you would expect at an airport, including showing your passport and collecting checked baggage.

free travel ticket

When you are in the baggage collection area, remember to collect a free public transport ticket provided by Geneva airport! This is ideal for getting to wherever you need to go when you arrive and means that you don't have to worry about having CHF change on arrival. The ticket machine could be quite easy to miss. It looks like this:


The ticket lasts for 88 minutes.

public transportation

It is possible to purchase either public transport cards in newsagents and whatnot and it is possible to purchase a month ticket (which may cost about 70 CHF) at the central train station and possibly in the airport.

airport Wi-Fi

Swisscom offers access to Wi-Fi in the airport. There is also a small snack shop called Snack (which sells decent food near the yellow escalator) that offers Wi-Fi:

  • SSID: Snack GVA Hot Spot
  • passcode: 1e7P6nzD

leaving Geneva airport

bus 57

Here are some vague instructions to get to the bus stops that you'll need to get somewhere (i.e. CERN): After you pass from the baggage collection area to the foyer, turn left, following signs for buses, go through a big rotating door and, eventually, you should reach a yellow escalator. Go up this escalator and, at the top, turn back on the direction in which you came and take the exit ahead of you. Turn left and continue until you see bus stops.

Public transport information can be accessed at the quite good TPG website.

To go from the airport to CERN, you may be able to take one of the following routes:

  • Take bus 57 (going in the direction of Gare de Meyrin) from the airport to Blandonnet and then take tram 18 (going in the direction of CERN) from Blandonnet to CERN.
  • Take bus 23 (going in the direction of ZIPLO) from the airport to Blandonnet and then take tram 18 (going in the direction of CERN) from Blandonnet to CERN.
  • Take bus Y (going in the direction Val-Thoiry) from the airport to CERN.

CERN Shuttle Service

The CERN Shuttle is a less frequent but direct service that operates on weekday mornings and afternoons. If you do not have a CERN access card, you are permitted to have transportation to the CERN reception building (building 33).

CERN Shuttle Service circuit information


arriving at CERN

The things you should arrange to do on arrival are as follows:

  • CERN registration
  • ATLAS registration
  • Safety Information Registration (SIR)
  • get CERN access card
  • register portable computer
  • get office key
  • get CERN bicycle
  • get Glasgow ATLAS flat key (if necessary)

On arrival, go to Reception in building 55. Identify yourself (using something such as a passport) and your contact person (perhaps your supervisor). It would be useful to make sure that this person is contactable by telephone when you arrive. Receive a printed temporary pass card (which lasts for 2 days) and get yourself a nice little fold-up map of CERN.

Now, go to the CERN Users' office in building 500 and hand in your CERN registration form (making sure both sides are filled in). You should also hand in evidence of health insurance. If you don't have it, you can send it to the person you register with at a later date.

Next, go to the ATLAS Secretariat on the top floor of the D wing of building 40 (the ATLAS/CMS building) and hand in your ATLAS registration form in order to get put onto the HR database. After the ATLAS registration, you can order a key for your office. For this, you simply fill out a requisition form(backup PDF copy, backup ODT copy) and send a copy of the form (a PDF is fine) to the ATLAS Secretariat. It takes about a day to have your new key made. You receive an e-mail when it is available with instructions on how to get it.

Now, go to the ID Office in building 22 (which is near to gate B). Go up to the top floor first. Here you will receive details (user name and passcode) for internet access. You will also be instructed to do the Safety Information Registration (SIR). It is a set of online questions and it is not difficult. Now, go down to the ground floor. If you want, there are toilets on the ground floor with mirrors, so you can make yourself look very attractive before your photograph is taken. On the ground floor, you can get your photograph taken and your new CERN access card. Finally, go to your office, sit down and relax after all of that exercise.

In case of problems etc., you can go to the CERN UK Liason Office. Here, you can ask questions and send and receive faxes (for those signatures you may have forgotten to get...).

It takes about a day to be put onto the HR database and you should be on this in order to register any portable computers you want to use at CERN. When you gain access to the CERN network, you can do the Safety Information Registration (SIR) by going to https://sir.cern.ch/. It is straightforward and some of the questions are quite amusing.

If you want to have the loan of a (usually free) CERN bicycle, you could request one now. It can take a day or so for one to become available. See more details on CERN bicycles here.

If you need a key for the Glasgow ATLAS flat, one may be obtained from the CERN U.K. Liason Office. See more details here.

building 1


1 R-019

image of 1 R-019

computers and associated items

image of R-019 2011 computer layout at north end of room


The 1 R-019 office internal (i.e., inside CERN) telephone number is 75950. The external (i.e., outside CERN) telephone number is 0041 (0) 22 76 75950.

To call out from the office, dial the following followed the appropriate telephone number:

*44 6070

glasvr02 (not named yet -- think of a name!, Glasgow server at CERN)

To connect to the server, you would use a procedure such as the following:

# Log on to LXPLUS.
ssh -Y <user_name>@lxplus.cern.ch
# Log on to glasvr (Glasgow server at CERN) from LXPLUS.
ssh -Y <user_name>@glasvr02.cern.ch
# or
ssh <user_name>@glasvr02

The server directory /data/ is used for user data storage and there are few restrictions on its use.

now dead: glasvr01 ("Black Beastie", Glasgow server at CERN)

To use the server, you would have a user account set up on it. You could contact Samir Ferrag (Samir.Ferrag@glasgow.ac.uk) to arrange this. To connect to the server, you would use a procedure such as the following:

# Log on to LXPLUS.
ssh -Y <user_name>@lxplus.cern.ch
# Log on to glasvr (Glasgow server at CERN) from LXPLUS.
ssh -Y <user_name>@glasvr01.cern.ch

There was about 5 TB of space on the server. The AFS space for each user is ~ 1 GB. More space can be had by using the /data/ directory.



Cardboard rolls are available for 8 CHF and plastic rolls are available for 24 CHF.

1-R019-HP (black and white duplex laser printer)

The specifications of the printer "1-R019-HP (HP Universal Printing PCL 6)" are as follows:

characteristic value
name 1-R019-HP
model HP LaserJet P4014n
server name 1-R019-HP.cern.ch
location 1 R-0019
can print color no
can print double-sided yes
default paper size A4
default paper source select automatically
resolution 600 x 600
banner page none
Linux driver HPLIP (usually preinstalled -- current version HPLIP 3.14.6 --, but available from http://hplipopensource.com/hplip-web/index.html) if needed
Mac driver name HP LaserJet P4010_P4510 Series.gz
Windows driver name HP Universal Printing PCL 6

An setup procedure (working on Ubuntu 16.04) is as follows:

Download lpadmincern from http://ftp.riken.jp/Linux/cern/slc60beta/x86_64/updates/SRPMS/repoview/lpadmincern.html.

wget http://ftp.riken.jp/Linux/cern/slc60beta/x86_64/updates/SRPMS/lpadmincern-1.3.17-1.slc6.src.rpm

Unpack the RPM.

rpm2cpio lpadmincern-1.3.17-1.slc6.src.rpm | cpio -idmv
tar -zxvf lpadmincern-1.3.17.tar.gz

Edit the file lpadmincern.pl such that

my $cupsc='/sbin/service cups reload';

is replaced with the following:

my $cupsc='/usr/sbin/service cups reload';

pico lpadmincern-1.3.17/lpadmincern.pl

Move the directory lpadmincern-1.3.17 to the directory /usr/share/lpadmincern.

Lookup a printer at https://printservice.web.cern.ch/printservice/UserTools/PrinterStatus.aspx. An example is "1-R019-HP (HP Universal Printing PCL 6)".

Lookup CERN LDAP for printer information and set up the local CUPS spooler with the appropriate printer options:

sudo perl /usr/share/lpadmincern/lpadmincern.pl --add 1-R019-HP

other printers

Some printers near building 1 are as follows:

printer location colour?
1-1005-HPCOL (HP Universal Printing PCL 6) 1 1-0005 yup
1-1041-HPCOL (HP Universal Printing PCL 6) 1 1-0041 yup
1-R034-HPCOLOR (HP Universal Printing PCL 6) 1 R-0034 yup
1-R035-HPCOL (HP Universal Printing PCL 6) 1 R-0035 yup
52-1LIB-CAN (Canon iR3235/iR3245 PCL6) library nah



Restaurant 1 (R1)

You can get decent food at Restaurant 1 in CERN. There are various areas to eat in; try them out. It is nice to sit outside with good weather, a view of Le Salève (a mountain) and the ATLAS building. Some food is available throughout the day, but there is more food available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. While the food is good, the conversation is the main thing that you go for. High quality physics talk is available in abundance.

Restaurant 1 is the only restaurant at CERN that is open at weekends and in the evenings for dinner.

Restaurant 2 (R2)

obsolete link: menu for CERN Restaurant 2

Mail2Print print service

Mail2Print is a simple CERN service by which you can have something printed by sending an e-mail with an attachment to an automated system. There is a selection of printers available in the service, including duplex, colour printers.

A procedure for using the service could be something like the following:

  • Send a blank e-mail with the attachment to print to mail2print.service@cern.ch.
  • Receive an automated confirmation response to this e-mail with a link that is current for 24 hours.
  • Access the link.
  • Set the print to be duplex if necessary (it is set to duplex by default).
  • Select a printer identifier by clicking on its identifier. Colour printers have a colour wheel to the right of their identifiers and all printers have a map link to the right of their identifiers.
  • Select to print either in colour or black and white.

example good colour printer:

  • identifier: 2-1065-CAN
  • 002-1-065
  • colour
  • duplex


CERN parking permit

You can get a CERN parking permit for your vehicle easily from building 55.


Bring your CERN access card and your vehicle registration number (and your vehicle registration certificate if you can) and the helpful people there can register your vehicle with CERN and provide you with a sticker for your vehicle or wallet. This process can take less than 2 minutes.

CERN Driving Authorisation

The CERN Driving Authorisation allows you to drive CERN vehicles.

Basically, the three things you will need to obtain CERN driving authorisation are

  • CERN registration,
  • completion of Safety Levels 1 and 2 and
  • a scan of the driving licence.

If you are with a U.K. institution, you should now be permitted access to the U.K. Liason Office vans.

current procedure

Access this document on EDH (the CERN "Electronic Document Handling" system). Enter the required information (with the justification given as "to drive CERN vehicle for ATLAS"). Save the document (using the "Save" icon), attach a PDF copy of your driving licence (using the "Attach" icon) (the UK Liaison Office can make a scan for you if you do not have access to a scanner) and then send the document (using the "Send" icon). Following any remaining instructions as necessary.

Your driving license application should then pass to CERN Services. You will receive an EDH Notification e-mail within about a day regarding your request. If everything is in order, your request should be approved. You do not need to keep a printed copy of this as the CERN driving licence is an online/electronic authorisation and can be viewed when your CERN Access Card is swiped under a reader.

2011 procedure

First, go to EDH (the CERN "Electronic Document Handling" system). Here, you can create and activate a request for a driving authorisation (amongst other things). After you have logged in to EDH, select "Access Request". Under "Required Access Line Item", select "+Add". In the pop-up that has popped up, select the following details (edit as necessary):

Access Site: All

Access Building: All

Access Zone: V: CERN vehicle driving license

Start Date: <today's date>

End Date:

Justification: "to drive CERN vehicle for ATLAS"

Select "OK". Select "I agree" for the terms and conditions. Attach a scanned copy (in, say, PDF format) of your driving licence (the UK Liaison Office can make a scan for you if you do not have access to a scanner) using the the "Attach" icon at the top. Select "Send" and follow the instructions as necessary.

Your driving license application should then pass to CERN Services. You will receive an EDH Notification e-mail within about a day regarding your request. If everything is in order, your request should be approved. You do not need to keep a printed copy of this as the CERN driving licence is an online/electronic authorisation and can be viewed when your CERN Access Card is swiped under a reader.


You can access UKLO CERN vans if you are associated appropriately with the STFC, have a CERN Driving Authorisation and have approval from your supervisor (who should contact the UKLO indicating this). Contact the nice people at the UKLO to organise this. The reservation webpage for the UKLO CERN vans is http://www.supersaas.co.uk/schedule/login/UKLO-vans/. On the SuperSaaS reservation system, select an empty space in order to create a new reservation. Self reservations can be edited by selecting them.

The vans have various fun names:

  • DownQuark
  • CharmQuark (licence plate number: GE 738147)
  • TruthQuark
  • CMS Tracker (restricted)
  • UpQuark
  • StrangeQuark (licence plate number: GE 139043)
  • BeautyQuark
  • CMS Ecal (restricted)



In order to book a van, first select its coloured box at the top right of the page. The calendar should display now the times for that specific van now. Click the start time slot in the calendar and a dialog called "New Reservation" should appear. Details such as the following can be specified:

  • when:
    • 6/3/2015 9:00
    • to
    • 6/3/2015 12:00
  • full name: William Breaden Madden
  • phone: 75950
  • experiment: ATLAS
  • institute: Glasgow
  • destination: CERN Prévessin
  • UKLO-vans: StrangeQuark

When the details are specified, select "Create Reservation". If everything went well, the message " Reservation successfully created" should be displayed now above the van's calendar. Your reservations appear in the calendar with stripes over the colour.

The keys for the vans are stored in a secure box outside the U.K. Liason Office.


CERN bicycle

CERN bicycles are provided free of charge (usually). These are nice bikes that are serviced regularly and are a lovely way to get to CERN from Saint Genis-Pouilly, Meyrin or Mordor. How do you get one? First, fill out this form (or possibly this form) as necessary. Bring the form to the ATLAS secretariat. There, you can get it signed and stamped. Now, bring the form to building 124. There is a deposit of CHF100 to pay, which is returned to you when you return the bike, assuming you have not blown it up or something. You could consider requesting a bike with a front carrier on it if you think it would be a good idea to carry a small bag (/animal/drunken person) in it. You should receive an e-mail in a day or so letting you know that your bike is ready for collection.

image of building 124

address:   124 R-001
telephone: +41 (0)22 767 20 70
fax:       +41 (0)22 767 33 70
web:       http://ep-div-smi.web.cern.ch/ep-div-smi/Service_point.html
   car reservation e-mail:   Phcars.Service@cern.ch
   space request e-mail:   Ph-smi.space@cern.ch
   other request:         Ph-smi.helpdesk@cern.ch
opening times:
   Monday:    08:30 - 12:00, 13:00 - 17:00
   Tuesday:   08:30 - 12:00, 13:00 - 17:00
   Wednesday: 08:30 - 12:00, 13:00 - 17:00
   Thursday:  08:30 - 12:00, 13:00 - 17:00
   Friday:    08:30 - 12:00, 13:00 - 17:00
   Saturday:  08:30 - 12:00, 13:00 - 17:00
   Sunday:    closed

CERN bike sharing (Velopass)

Velopass is the name of a bicycle-sharing service. CERN members can borrow Velopass bicycles for free from one of the docking stations installed at the INGRID temporary garden on the parking area near building 33.

personal bicycle

It used to be that you needed insurance for personal bicycles, which you could get in the form of a little sticker called a "vignette" for 6 CHF per year at post offices, large shops, bike shops etc.

CERN catacombs (A.K.A. "the tunnels")

If you feel like having a small adventure, you can explore the CERN catacombs. Bring a torch!

image of typical CERN catacombs map found in tunnels

A detailed map of the tunnels can be found in the CERN Geographic Information System (GIS). Access https://gis.cern.ch/gisportal/. At the bottom of the left pane, select "Ajout de Données" ("Adding data"). Then, under "Données CERN" (CERN data), select "SOUS_SOL".

KMZ maps are available for download from the CERN GIS, allowing for portable, unnetworked devices to display a map of CERN. The Garmin eTrex 30 can display KMZ maps, as can standard Android devices. In order to download a KMZ map file, access the appropriate map, select the icon "Map Files" on the left, then select "Save to map file".

* 2015-04-13T1323Z_CERN_topomaps_mapFile.kmz

opening times

Reception (building 55)

opening times:
   Monday:    08:00 - 18:00
   Tuesday:   08:00 - 18:00
   Wednesday: 08:00 - 18:00
   Thursday:  08:00 - 18:00
   Friday:    08:00 - 18:00
   Saturday:  09:00 - 17:00
   Sunday:    closed

CERN Users' Office

opening times:
   Monday:    08:00 - 16:00
   Tuesday:   08:00 - 16:00
   Wednesday: 08:00 - 16:00
   Thursday:  08:00 - 16:00
   Friday:    08:00 - 16:00
   Saturday:  09:00 - 16:00
   Sunday:    closed

CERN ID Office

opening times:
   Monday:    08:00 - 16:00
   Tuesday:   08:00 - 16:00
   Wednesday: 08:00 - 16:00
   Thursday:  08:00 - 16:00
   Friday:    08:00 - 16:00
   Saturday:  09:00 - 16:00
   Sunday:    closed


There is a scanner-photocopier in the CERN library. You can look up your details on the machine, scan something and it should be sent to you from the e-mail address B52-1LIB-CAN@cern.ch. It may be that you can save scans to an attached USB drive.

The scanning procedure for a single A4 page is as follows. Place the single A4 page into the scanner face down and upright as you face the machine. In the menu "Scan and Send", under "Address Book (LDAP Server)" set to CERN, select "Search by Name". Enter the start of the name (it is case-insensitive), e.g. "william dmitri". Select the contact such that a checkmark appears beside it and then select "OK". Select "OK". Press the green button to scan. Select "Start Sending" to send.

navigating CERN

building numbers

You may find that the numbers of CERN buildings are confusing. Rest assured that the numbering system of CERN buildings is highly intelligent and that you are simply too stupid to understand it.

site nomination serial number
Meyrin offices, laboratories 1--99
Meyrin workshops, warehouses, garages 100--199
Meyrin general and special equipment 200--299
Meyrin SC accelerators and annexes 300--349
Meyrin PS accelerators and annexes 350--374
Meyrin new accelerators and annexes 375--399
Meyrin roads, car parks, storage zones 400--499
Meyrin miscellaneous buildings 500--549
SPS/Prevessin offices, laboratories, SPS halls 860--1000
SPS/Prevessin roads, car parks, storage zones 1000--1099

Note that roads are classified as buildings and that CERN hostels are sometimes classified as offices. Why is there a gap between 549 and 860?, I hear you cry. Well, those are simply the serial numbers of the CERN buildings on the planet Hercolubus.

CERN Market


The purpose of the CERN Market is to enable CERN people to buy and sell personal objects -- anything from a house or a car to a set of snow chains.

access requests for ATLAS control room, CERN Control Center

You can request access to various areas at CERN using EDH.

- https://edh.cern.ch/Document/General/ACRQ

It may be that you need to reset your AIS authentication passcode before submitting these requests.

To access the ATLAS control room (ATL_CR, building 3162), request the following access:

  • Access Site: POINT 1 LHC/LEP
  • Access Building: All
  • Justification: ATLAS user

To access the CERN Control Center (building 874), request the following access:

  • Access Site: PREVESSIN
  • Access Building: All
  • Access Zone: 0874-R-017: Access to the CCC visitor center
  • Justification: ATLAS user

Following the entry of this information, you should perhaps save and then "send" the request using the icons at the top of the page.

access ATLAS cavern during LS1

In order to access the ATLAS cavern during LS1, the following safety courses should be completed:

  • CERN Safety Introduction
  • Safety during LS1
  • ATLAS (Level 4 A)

LHC Access Control System tutorial

ATLAS Control Room (ACR) shifts


In order to do shifts in the ATLAS control room, you should first contact Saverio D'Auria introducing yourself and describing what you want to do (e.g. ID shifts). Saverio should then guide you on the appropriate path, which could involve contacting Per Johansson (per.johansson@cern.ch), the SCT run coordinator, and Dave Robinson, the SCT project leader (dave.robinson@cern.ch). Following this contact, you'll be added to the list that allows you to book shifts on the ATLAS OTP system.

In order to do shifts, you'll need to do online safety courses, a day of shift training and shadow shifts (during which you are shown how to do a shift).


The new ATLAS Detector Operation page is here: https://atlasop.cern.ch/mobile.php

ATLAS OTP shift booking procedure

Go to OTP. https://atlas-otp.cern.ch/mao/client/cern.ppt.mao.app.gwt.MaoClient/MaoClient.html#home

There are two main parts to the homepage: "Book My Shifts" and "Find My Shifts". If it is not already expanded, expand "Book My Shifts" by selecting "+". Under "Book My Shifts" is a list of all shifts you are allowed to book. The number "Id" is the task identifier for the shift. Select the number of the shift you want to book. Now should be visible the page "Shift Booking", referencing the selected single shift. In order to expand the section, select the "+" next to the name of the shift. A calendar should be displayed.

Select the start month and the number of months to display as appropriate. As the colour codes listed describe, pink shifts are unallocated. Select any pink shifts that you wish to book. They should turn green. To save the shifts selected, select "Save Shift Booking". Congratulations! You have now booked shifts in the ATLAS control room.

changing ATLAS shifts

To change shifts, you should contact the appropriate e-mail list of shifters. You can access the appropriate list via OTP. Simply select the "Send" link that is listed with the appropriate type of shift. You simply state what you want to do (e.g. swap shift X for something else, say in month Y), send an e-mail to the list of shifters and hope for a response.


If you get a response and can agree on a swap with another shifter, just send an e-mail requesting this swap.

ATLAS ID SCT monitoring

The SCT shifter guide is here: https://atlasop.cern.ch/twiki/bin/view/Main/SctGettingStarted

The SCT Detector Monitoring page is here: https://atlasop.cern.ch/sys/sct.php

The SCT whiteboard is here: https://atlasop.cern.ch/twiki/bin/view/Main/SCTDetectorWhiteBoard

telephone number description
162749 SCT Run Coordination
71344 SCT ATLAS Control Room
70946 SCT Satellite Control Room

French card

You may need a French card if you are to be here for a while.

CERN Stores

how to order something from CERN stores

Access the CERN Stores Catalogue. Let's assume the thing to get is an Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter. The details are as follows:

SCEM code unit unit price stock expected delivery direct delivery description/designation reference/information PC 28.0 29 14.07.2015 >=7 Adaptator Mini DisplayPortto DVI APP-MB570Z-B

Select the basket to buy the item. You should pass now to the dark realm of EDH. Enter the budget code [TOP SECRET], save the document and then send the document. If you're with Glasgow, you could e-mail Richard Bates to confirm the details.

become a CERN guide

You can inspire people to sacrifice themselves to science by becoming a CERN guide.

CERN po-po

The Staff Rules and Regulations are very vague. If you do something CERN doesn't like, the rules can be effectively retroactively defined in such a way that you have broken them in some way. CERN computing rules are defined in Operational Circular Number 5. If you break a CERN rule and do so using CERN computer systems, then CERN'll likely automatically say that you've broken the computing rules too. CERN records a great deal, including every visible interaction you have with the internet and which Wi-Fi access points you are using. You should consider protecting yourself.

For the access points, the obvious things are to set devices either to not use Wi-Fi or to set them to use only certain access points.

For the internet access, Tor and VPN services can be of use because they can provide ensure that you are not directly using CERN computer systems.


AirVPN is based in Italy and offers servers in 15 countries, most of which are in Europe except for those in the US, Canada and Hong Kong. AirVPN supports only the OpenVPN protocol, regarding PPTP and L2TP/IPsec as being too insecure. Users can have up to 3 simultaneous connections. AirVPN permits users to P2P download from any of its servers. Up to three devices can be connected simultaneously with the same account. AirVPN offers VPN through Tor. In this configuration, the user connects first to the Tor network and then to AirVPN. This means that AirVPN does not have access to the user's IP address.


The only personal information requested for signup is a valid e-mail address. Bitcoin payments are made via CoinBase. Once payment is made, the user receives a welcome e-mail containing useful links.

Eddie, the AirVPN client, can be set up on Ubuntu 16.04 using the following procedure:

wget https://airvpn.org/repository/2.10/airvpn_linux_x64_debian.deb

sudo apt-get -y install gksu
sudo apt-get -y install mono-runtime
sudo apt-get -y install mono-utils
sudo apt-get -y install mono-reference-assemblies-2.0
sudo apt-get -y install openvpn
sudo apt-get -y install stunnel4
sudo apt-get -y install mono-devel

sudo dpkg -i                                       \
    --ignore-depends=libmono-system-runtime2.0-cil \
    --ignore-depends=libmono-winforms2.0-cil       \
    --ignore-depends=libmono-corlib2.0-cil         \

  • Remove the following dependencies from the AirVPN entry in the file /var/lib/dpkg/status.
    • libmono-system-runtime2.0-cil
    • libmono-winforms2.0-cil
    • libmono-corlib2.0-cil

  • The entry looks like this:

Package: airvpn
Status: install ok installed
Priority: optional
Section: net
Installed-Size: 8192
Maintainer: AirVPN Team <maintainer@airvpn.org>
Bugs: https://airvpn.org/forum/3-airvpn-client/
Architecture: all
Version: 2.10
Depends: gksu, mono-runtime, mono-utils, libmono-system-runtime2.0-cil, libmono-winforms2.0-cil, libmono-corlib2.0-c$
Description: VPN service based on OpenVPN
 VPN based on OpenVPN and operated by activists and hacktivists
 in defence of net neutrality, privacy and against censorship.
Homepage: https://airvpn.org/

AirVPN can be set up on Cyanogen or Android using the following procedure:

  • Set up OpenVPN for Android.
  • Generate configuration files using the OpenVPN Configuration Generator. For example, configuration files for various countries can be generated, yielding files like AirVPN_France_TCP-443.ovpn.
  • Access OpenVPN for Android.
  • Select the import icon and then import .ovpn files as appropriate (selecting the floppy disk icon).
  • Select an imported profile to connect.



CERN is quite a safe place and you are unlikely to experience real problems there. However...

If you have something stolen from you, you should submit a ticket here:

Please refer to CERN/DG-RH/17306 for further details.

accessing CERN outside normal working hours

Outside of normal working hours, you can use entrance B to access CERN or the electronic gate at the reception (building 33).

Glasgow ATLAS commuter flat

general description

The Glasgow ATLAS group has a flat close to CERN in the town of Meyrin. Here are the coördinates: (46.237145706538854, 6.077819913625717). The address is as follows:

flat 62, Promenade des Champs-Fréchets 20, 1217 Meyrin, Switzerland

The building may be accessed using the passcode 2809. It is a nice flat with three bedrooms, Wi-Fi, a stereo system, a telephone, a washing machine/spin-drier, a shower and the other usual things you would expect in a flat. There is also a television, if you are inclined towards such retro things. There is a great view of the Jura mountains to wake up to each morning. You can view the availability and book the CERN flat here.

A key for the ATLAS flat may be obtained from Valerie Flood or, failing this, from the CERN U.K. Liason Office in 32 1-B06 (which may be accessible via building 21). There should be a secure box containing keys for collection and return outside of normal hours. The passcode for the secure box is [SECRET]. A useful contact person in the CERN U.K. Liason Office is Kevin Viel (+41 2276 75975). The handovers of Glasgow keys are detailed here


image of exterior view

image of lounge

image of flat block foyer

image of kitchen

image of reception hall

image of bedroom 2

image of view north from flat

image of view south from flat

image of bomb shelter interior (with postgraduate student for scale)

manual of washing machine

image of reasonable washing machine settings for current washing machine

image of reasonable washing machine settings for old washing machine (obsolete information)


The details for the Wi-Fi network in the ATLAS commuter flat are scrawled on some paper in the flat. The Wi-Fi network SSID is "KelvinNet" and the key is "glasgow-particle-physics".

money tin

This contains money which is to be used for flat expenses (e.g., lightbulbs). Staying in the flat, you should put 2 CHF into the tin every evening (and every time you curse ROOT).


The telephone number for the telephone in the Glasgow flat is 0044 (0) 22 782 2573. You can both make and receive calls on the telephone, but you must record the times of the calls (and ultimately reimburse the group for any calls you make). Remember that VoIP services are available (often for free) using the Wi-Fi. Obviously, this works only if you are not trying to call people from a more civilised age (read: primitive age).

nearby facilities and shops

directly nearby

image of plan of Champs Fréchets area

image of shopping/restaurant area in front of flat block

Media Markt (electronics store)

image of Media Markt

address:   Genève-Meyrin, Ch. de Riantbosson 17, 1217 Meyrin
telephone: 022 719 80 80
fax:       022 719 80 90
e-mail:   meyrin@mediamarkt.ch
opening times:
   Monday:    09:15 -- 19:00
   Tuesday:   09:15 -- 19:00
   Wednesday: 09:15 -- 19:00
   Thursday:  09:15 -- 20:00
   Friday:    09:15 -- 19:30
   Saturday:  09:00 -- 18:00
   Sunday:    closed

Pharmacie Amavita Champs-Fréchets

address:   Promenade des Artisans 34, 1217 Meyrin
telephone: 058 851 3 613
fax:       058 851 3 713
e-mail:    ama613@amavita.ch
web:       http://www.amavita.ch
CEO:       Fanny Perraud
opening times:
   Monday:    08:00 -- 19:00
   Tuesday:   08:00 -- 19:00
   Wednesday: 08:00 -- 19:00
   Thursday:  08:00 -- 19:00
   Friday:    08:00 -- 19:00
   Saturday:  08:00 -- 12:30
   Sunday:    closed

Carrefour Market (supermarket)

Following the riotous response of large numbers of Muslims to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons in 2005, Carrefour removed Danish products from its shelves. On the other hand, it continues to stock Charlie Hebdo in spite of the murderous attack on it by Islamists in 2015. So, Carrefour is a bit of a mixed bag. As well as this, watch out for its fruit and vegetable products -- they can be more out-of-date than they seem!

address:   Rue de Genève, 01630 Saint Genis-Pouilly
telephone: +33(0)450422460
opening times:
   Monday:    08:30 -- 19:30
   Tuesday:   08:30 -- 19:30
   Wednesday: 08:30 -- 19:30
   Thursday:  08:30 -- 19:30
   Friday:    08:30 -- 19:30
   Saturday:  08:30 -- 19:30
   Sunday:    08:30 -- 12:30  

Intermarché (supermarket)

This wonderland has a fine, convenient selection of freshly chopped vegitables. It sells other things too.

address:   148 rue châlets, ZAC de l'Allondon, 01630 Saint Genis-Pouilly
telephone: +33(0)450206060
opening times:
   Monday:    08:30 -- 19:15
   Tuesday:   08:30 -- 19:15
   Wednesday: 08:30 -- 19:15
   Thursday:  08:30 -- 19:15
   Friday:    08:30 -- 19:30
   Saturday:  08:30 -- 19:15
   Sunday:    08:30 -- 12:00

Jim's British Market (seller of quorn)

Pining for the U.K.? Wishing for that pint of tea? Come to Jim's British Market, a bizarre shop/restaurant with a reasonably good supply of U.K. food at slightly high prices and have a tea and unhealthy breakfast in an industrial estate.

address:   147 Rue du Mont Rond, Zone de l'Allondon, St. Genis-Pouilly, 01630 France
telephone: +33(0)4 50 42 04 18
opening times:
   Monday:    closed
   Tuesday:   10:00 -- 19:00
   Wednesday: 10:00 -- 19:00
   Thursday:  10:00 -- 19:00
   Friday:    10:00 -- 19:00
   Saturday:  10:00 -- 17:00
   Sunday:    11:00 -- 13:00


branch:    Ferneydis
address:   Route De Meyrin, 01210 Ferney Voltaire
telephone: 0450428000
website:   http://www.e-leclerc.com/magasin/ferneydis/, http://www.e-leclerc.com/magasin/ferneydis/infospratiques
fax:       0450407569
opening times:
   Monday:    08:30 - 20:30
   Tuesday:   08:30 - 20:30
   Wednesday: 08:30 - 20:30
   Thursday:  08:30 - 20:30
   Friday:    08:30 - 20:30
   Saturday:  08:30 - 20:00
   Sunday:    closed

La Poste (Saint-Genis-Pouilly)

address:   119 Avenue De La Republique, St. Genis-Pouilly, 01630 France
telephone: +33(0)4 50 42 04 18
opening times:
   Monday:    closed
   Tuesday:   09:00 -- 12:00, 14:00 -- 18:00
   Wednesday: 09:00 -- 12:00, 14:00 -- 18:00
   Thursday:  09:00 -- 12:00, 14:00 -- 18:00
   Friday:    09:00 -- 12:00, 14:00 -- 18:00
   Saturday:  09:00 -- 12:00
   Sunday:    closed



A good, relaxing haircut can be had at Studio 54 in Saint-Genis-Pouilly. Contact them for a time slot. The total time including hair wash and hair cut is ~30 minutes.

Another place is JL Lacroix (3 rue de Gex, 01630 Saint Genis Pouilly, +330450420853).

Séjours & Affaires Saint Genis

The CERN UKLO's favourite aparthotel, is a convenient, pleasant place with an until-recently unimpressive internet connection.


The script visites-et-enterprises can enter details into the web login automatically:

washing clothes

Bedclothes can be cleaned by leaving them outside your door on Tuesday mornings. Cleaned bedclothes should be placed in the apartment. There is a cost of €8 to clean bedclothes and the bill for this is provided in the form of an envelope on the door.


maps of CERN

maps of Geneva

The following are some maps that could be placed on a portable device such as a telephone, e-reader etc.:

travel and transportation

travelling between Saint-Genis-Pouilly and CERN

The little "Saut de puce" 2 CHF ticket is a tempting and rational ticket for the journal between Saint-Genis-Pouilly and CERN, but it is not the right ticket. The correct one is the "Short trip" 3.40 CHF ticket because you're crossing a border. Ugh. You can walk the journey as an alternative.


Bus Y ticket machine:


TPG enforcement unit:


too many cooks

It is preferable to purchase tickets before boarding the transport. For some routes (including the Bus Y route), you may have to purchase tickets using an enboard ticket machine. If there are too many people to allow you to purchase the ticket in time, be sure to tell the driver (shouting if necessary) that you are trying to buy your ticket.

TPG SMS-Ticket

Within Geneva (probably only), you can get an SMS ticket. In order to use this you need a telephone with a Swiss SIM card and you need to know the appropriate ticket code. The ticket codes are as follows:

code ticket cost
tpg1 "Tout Genève" 1 hour, full fare CHF 3
tpg2 "Tout Genève" 1 hour, reduced fare CHF 2
CJ1 "Tout Genève" day card, full fare CHF 10
CJ2 "Tout Genève" day card, reduced fare CHF 7.30
CJ91 "Tout Genève" day card from 09:00, full fare CHF 8
CJ92 "Tout Genève" day card from 09:00, reduced fare CHF 5.60

Send an SMS to 788 containing the appropriate ticket code (e.g. tpg1). The SMS-Ticket should be something like the following:

Billet zone 10

siteseeing, tourism and adventures


There's a circus that appears in Saint-Genis-Pouilly a few times per year. You know that the circus is in town when you randomly encounter llamas, camels etc. in the village. This is not a joke.

You can pick up nice bread and morning croissants from the friendly patisserie Mottier Vincent on Rue de Genève.


  • Art and History Museum Tuesday-Sunday: 10:00 - 17:00
  • Natural History Museum Musee Tuesday-Sunday: 10:00 - 17:00
  • Science Conservatory & Gardens Jardin Botanique Everyday: 08:00 - 19:30

cheap accommodation


Fête nationale Suisse

On the first of August (actually "early August"), the three Alpine cantons Schwyz, Uri and Unterwalden swore the oath of confederation with the Federal Charter of 1291. This is regarded as the foundation of Switzerland and Swiss National Day is a celebration of the event.


There is a fireworks display in Meyrin on the first of August that features decent fireworks, a bonfire and very cheesy music. It takes place in the friendly atmosphere of rows of tables of people with children collecting cans and bottles in exchange for fireworks.

entertainment, socialising

  • R1 is an obvious meeting place for conversation and drinks after work.
  • ÔBrasseur in Saint-Genis-Pouilly is nice, with its own decent beer and good vegetarian food options.
  • Charly's [sic] is a classic bar in Saint-Genis-Pouilly. It has the perfect combination of location, tacky fake bookshelves and slightly good cheap wine.
  • L'Usine (cultural centre of Geneva)

homeward bound

The CERN shuttle from CERN to the airport leaves from building 500 on each hour.

image of CERN shuttle

handy contacts

Valerie Flood

Valerie can do anything.

telephone: 0044 (0)141 330 4702


CERN Shuttle Service circuit information

-- Main.WilliamBreadenMadden - 2011-07-29

Topic attachments
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PDFpdf CERN_bicycle_form.pdf r1 manage 3681.7 K 2011-09-09 - 15:58 WilliamBreadenMadden CERN bicycle form
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JPEGjpg Geneva_airport_free_ticket.jpg r1 manage 2942.7 K 2011-08-01 - 17:58 WilliamBreadenMadden Image: Geneva airport free ticket
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PDFpdf LCMO_Geneva_map.pdf r1 manage 384.6 K 2012-03-24 - 22:34 WilliamBreadenMadden LCMO Geneva map
JPEGjpg Media_Markt.jpg r1 manage 2837.9 K 2011-08-01 - 18:00 WilliamBreadenMadden Image: Media Markt
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JPEGjpg THHGTC_logo.jpg r1 manage 1513.0 K 2011-09-02 - 18:21 WilliamBreadenMadden THHGTC logo
PDFpdf TPG_Geneva_map.pdf r1 manage 7087.6 K 2012-03-24 - 22:34 WilliamBreadenMadden TPG_Geneva_map
PDFpdf TPG_central_Geneva_map.pdf r1 manage 2187.0 K 2012-03-24 - 22:35 WilliamBreadenMadden TPG central Geneva map
JPEGjpg Ticket_machine.jpg r1 manage 881.9 K 2011-08-01 - 18:04 WilliamBreadenMadden Image: Ticket machine
GIFgif building_55.gif r1 manage 32.8 K 2015-01-28 - 12:37 WilliamBreadenMadden  
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Unknown file formatPDF washing_machine_1.PDF r1 manage 376.0 K 2013-07-01 - 12:00 WilliamBreadenMadden commuter flat washing machine document 1
Topic revision: r95 - 2016-09-29 - WilliamBreadenMadden
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