ATLAS book launched

13 October 2008

André-Pierre Olivier, production designer; Claudia Marcelloni, production and photography; Manuela Cirilli, scientific editor; and Neal Hartman, copy editor pose on the table at the ATLAS Start-up Event

The ATLAS book is now out for sale! It was officially presented in the ATLAS start-up event on October 4th, and it has already become a big selling success.  ATLAS members had pre-ordered 800 copies. And till now, more than 500 copies have been sold.

Claudia Marcelloni, CERN photographer, has been the coordinator of the project since its very conception back in 2006. And the final result is exactly what the ATLAS management wanted from the beginning: “An artistic book on science,” says Claudia.

Originally, it was Marzio Nessi’s idea. When the ATLAS technical coordinator saw the impressive photos Claudia was taking around CERN, he thought that making a book with fine pictures of the detector assembly was a good way to thank all the collaborators. It was Markus Nordberg, ATLAS resources manager, who then asked Claudia whether it was possible to do a book out of her best photos.

But since then, the book, which was initially aimed at the ATLAS members, has evolved into a far more ambitious project in terms of readership target. The final product is not only interesting for ATLAS-related readers, Claudia says: “Also for people who are curious about the curiosity of physicists.“

The science in the book is interesting in its own right, Claudia explains, but it can also help readers interested in science understand the driving force which brings more than 2,000 people to work together to bring such a huge scientific experiment to a successful end.

Neal Hartman, writer Kerry-Jane Lowery, scientific editor Kenway Smith, and André-Pierre Olivier celebrate the completion of the book

The book is peppered with anecdotes on the design and construction of the ATLAS detector. Did you know that the Pixel Detector Endcap - the most complex silicon-tracking detector ever fabricated - made it from San Francisco to Geneva airport in a four-wheel baby carriage?

This is just an example of the sort of stories you will find in this beautiful book that gives a human side to the construction of one of the most complex machines ever built by humankind.

The writer, Kerry-Jane Lowery, is very pleased she played a part in the creation of such a unique book. Without previous experience in science writing, she soon got drawn into it: “The passion that ATLAS collaborators have for their jobs is fascinating, it really seduced me from the beginning,” she says. She found the whole interviewing, research and writing process particularly interesting, and enjoyed writing creatively about such a complex science. “The writing was both challenging and exciting and I hope it does justice to the passion and commitment of the many people I spoke with.”

Now that the project has come to a successful finale, one of the biggest rewards is having produced a book that has ended up being more human and artistic than most scientific books. Claudia says: “We have escaped the cold-blue typical look of science books, so the scientists could identify themselves in the photos.” 

When asked how she feels on the final product, Claudia, a self-declared perfectionist, does not hesitate: “I’m very happy with the quality of the book and the reason is because everybody in the project has given their best and what you see is truly a piece of team work.”

So, don’t miss the opportunity to get a copy of this unique book describing the great ATLAS adventure!

You can purchase the book at the ATLAS secretariat, the CERN shop or online through In the future, the book will be also available in bookshops worldwide.

More on the photo boook:
Going to the printers
UK launch


Cristina Jimenez

ATLAS e-News