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For the Smurfs villain, see Gargamel.
For other uses, see Gargamel (disambiguation).
The Gargamelle, now on display at the CERN Microcosm museum science garden.

Gargamelle was a giant bubble chamber detector at CERN, designed mainly for the detection of neutrino interactions. Built in France, with a diameter of nearly 2 meters and 4.8 meters in length, Gargamelle held nearly 12 cubic meters of a freon (CF3Br). The usage of a heavy liquid, rather than the more typical liquid hydrogen, meant higher neutrino interaction probability, as well as easier identification of muons versus pions.

Gargamelle operated from 1970 to 1978 with a muon neutrino beam produced by the CERN Proton Synchrotron. These experiments led to one of the most important discoveries ever made at CERN: the experimental observation of the weak neutral currents was announced in July 1973,[1] shortly after their theoretical prediction.

For the experiment, approximately 83,000 neutrino events were analysed, and 102 neutral current events observed. The signature of a neutral current event was an isolated vertex from which only hadrons were produced.

The name of the chamber derives from the giantess Gargamelle in the works of François Rabelais; she was Gargantua's mother.


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