On 10 September 2008, CERN entered a new era of scientific discovery with the start-up of the LHC, and the world was there to watch. The star of the show was the LHC itself, and all those who have worked tirelessly over the years to ensure such a remarkably smooth transition from construction to operation. They deserve the highest praise for their professionalism and dedication, and it gives me great pleasure that all at CERN, and around the world, were able to share in their achievement.
The global media coverage for the event was unprecedented. There were over 300 journalists on site, Google news found over 3500 press cuttings on the day, not to mention featuring the LHC on the Google logo. Around 450 television stations picked up our broadcast signal.
Eurovision has reported that it was broadcast over 2100 times. And our websites strained under the pressure of over 100 million hits. In our Member States and around the world, CERN was the lead news story on television news, even demoting the US elections to second place.
Particle physics has never had such a high profile, and it gives us an opportunity over the coming years to get basic science back into the mainstream.
Everyone can take pride and pleasure in the success of Wednesday, the first time a laboratory has ever invited the world's media to witness such a significant, and delicate moment in the commissioning of a new accelerator. The most important news from this day is that the successful circulation of a beam of particles in each direction of LHC brings proof that all of the LHC's components have been up to the task. All systems from magnets to cryogenics, from power supplies to vacuum, from instrumentation to control, met or exceeded expectations, and the operators very rapidly demonstrated their skill in mastering this complex machine. I would like to thank all those involved.
I would also like to thank the people who contributed to making the communication of the day such a success. My particular thanks go out to the communication group, those in the IT department who put the technical infrastructure in place, and all of you who gave your time to explain our science to the media.
We have received messages of congratulation from around the world, and there is one I would like to share with you, from a senior journalist who came to CERN on 10 September 2008: "In my long experience of covering big scheduled events, I find it difficult to think of a similar occasion of this importance and complexity when, as a journalist, things went so smoothly.
Please pass on our thanks to everybody."