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Les Horribles Cernettes, an all-female doo-wop band whose image is believed to have been the first photo uploaded to the fledgling world wide web, is to play its final gig.

Les Horribles Cernettes take their swansong at the Hardronic Festival at the CERN laboratory in Geneva – the birthplace of the web.

A picture of the women was uploaded to the web on 18 July, 1992, by web creator – and fan – Tim Berners-Lee.

He wanted it to test out the version of the web he was working on at CERN.

The band was founded in 1990 by Michele de Gennaro who worked at CERN as a graphic designer.

The Cernettes get their name from the initials of the giant particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider, used at CERN to investigate fundamental physics.

The image of Les Horribles Cernettes is believed to have been the first photo uploaded to the fledgling world wide web

The image of Les Horribles Cernettes is believed to have been the first photo uploaded to the fledgling world wide web

The group has won fame in scientific circles by performing at CERN social gatherings and physics conferences. The women sing classic 60s pop songs, as well as their own compositions such as Microwave Love, Collider and My Sweetheart is a Nobel Prize.

The gig on 21 July at the annual CERN music festival will be their first performance for five years – and is billed as their last.

Jim Halley, manager of the band, said there had been a huge upsurge of interest in the band because of the anniversary of the image being uploaded to the web.

The band was even featured on the US talkshow hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, said Jim Halley.

The growing interest has led the Cernettes to post a message on their website explaining their distress at the “press tornado” surrounding them. In particular, they took issue with a report on Motherboard about the circumstances surrounding the use of the image.

In the message, the Cernettes point out that no-one knows which photograph was the first to be uploaded to the web. However, they said, the image did have some significance for the history of the internet.

“This photo was one of those that changed the web, from a platform for physics documentation, to a media for our lives,” they said.

“It was really one of the first,” said Jim Halley.

“Nobody has found anything else loaded before it – put it that way.”

The picture was taken by Silvano de Gennaro, the husband of founder Michele, during the band’s early days when he was trying to spread the word about them.

Jim Halley said he was advising the Cernettes to keep on gigging rather than give up on their musical careers.

“The whole world has gone nuts for them,” he said.


Adlene Hicheur, a French physicist at the prestigious CERN laboratory has been sentenced to five years in prison for plotting terrorist attacks.

Adlene Hicheur was arrested in 2009 after police intercepted his emails to an alleged contact in al-Qaeda.

The emails suggested Algerian-born Adlene Hicheur was willing to be part of an “active terrorist unit”, attacking targets in France.

Defense lawyers argued that their client had never been part of a plot.

Adlene Hicheur, who is a particle physicist, worked as a researcher studying the origins of the universe at CERN.

His father embraced him in the Paris courtroom before he was taken away to prison.

Adlene Hicheur, 35, has already spent two and a half years in jail while awaiting trial.

He came under suspicion when threatening messages were sent to President Nicolas Sarkozy in early 2008.

The security services uncovered a series of email exchanges between Adlene Hicheur and an alleged al-Qaeda member called Mustapha Debchi.

After his arrest in 2009 police found a large quantity of Islamist literature at his parents’ home.

At the start of his trial the scientist admitted that he had been going through a psychologically “turbulent” time in his life when he wrote the emails.

Adlene Hicheur had suffered a serious back injury, for which he had been taking morphine.

But he always denied he intended to carry out any attacks.

His lawyer, Patrick Baudouin, described the verdict as “scandalous”.

“Everything has been done to demonize him,” he said.

Adlene Hicheur has not yet decided whether or not to appeal.

If he decides not to, with time off for good behavior, he should be released soon, Patrick Baudouin said.


A new experiment repeating the test of the speed of neutrinos has found that the subatomic particles do not travel faster than light.

Results announced in September suggested that neutrinos can exceed light speed, but were met with skepticism as that would upend Einstein’s theory of relativity.

A test run by a different group, ICARUS,  at the same laboratory has now clocked them travelling at precisely light speed.

The results have been posted online.

The results in September, from the OPERA group at the Gran Sasso underground laboratory in Italy, shocked the world, threatening to upend a century of physics as well as relativity – which holds the speed of light to be the Universe’s absolute speed limit.

Now the ICARUS group, based at the same laboratory, has weighed in again, having already cast some doubt on the original OPERA claim.

Shortly after that claim, Nobel laureate Sheldon Glashow co-authored a Physical Review Letters paper that modeled how faster-than-light neutrinos would behave as they travelled.

In November, the ICARUS group showed in a paper posted on the online server Arxiv that the neutrinos displayed no such behavior.

The ICARUS group found that the neutrinos do travel at the same speed as light, within a small error range

The ICARUS group found that the neutrinos do travel at the same speed as light, within a small error range

However, they have now supplemented that indirect result with a test just like that carried out by the OPERA team.

The ICARUS experiment uses 600 tons – 430,000 litres – of liquid argon to detect the arrival of neutrinos sent through 730 km of rock from the CERN laboratory in Switzerland.

Since their November result, the ICARUS team has adjusted their experiment to do a speed measurement.

What was missing was information from CERN about the departure time of the neutrinos, which the team recently received to complete their analysis.

The result: they find that the neutrinos do travel at the same speed as light, within a small error range.

“We are completely compatible with the speed of light that we learn at school,” said Sandro Centro, co-spokesman for the ICARUS collaboration.

Dr. Sandro Centro said that he was not surprised by the result.

“In fact I was a little skeptical since the beginning,” he said.

“Now we are 100% sure that the speed of light is the speed of neutrinos.”

Most recently, the OPERA team conceded that their initial result may have been compromised by problems with their equipment.

Rumors have circulated since the OPERA result was first announced that the team was not unified in its decision to announce their findings so quickly, and Dr. Sandro Centro suggested that researchers outside the team were also suspicious.

“I didn’t trust the result right from the beginning – the way it was produced, the way it was managed,” Dr. Sandro Centro said.

“I think they were a little bit in a hurry to publish something that was astonishing, and at the end of the day it was a wrong measurement.”

Four different experiments at Italy’s Gran Sasso lab make use of the same beam of neutrinos from CERN.

Later this month, they will all be undertaking independent measurements to finally put an end to speculation about neutrino speeds.

The MINOS experiment in the US and the T2K experiment in Japan may also weigh in on the matter in due course – if any doubt is left about the neutrinos’ ability to beat the universal speed limit.