Entries - C

capital letters

Use minimal capitalization. A heading starts with a capital, but other words should not be capped up, unless they are proper nouns. If in doubt, choose lower case.

Exceptions include: our Sun, Earth (the planet), and our Solar System, but not universe, moon, earthquake, earth (the soil).

Use a capital letter when you are writing the names of people, languages, places, and words relating to them:

Africa, African
Buddha, Buddhism
Shakespeare, Shakespearean

punctuation, style



Use normal punctuation in captions, except at the end - No full stop at the end of the caption.

Image captions are a maximum of 200 characters (including spaces), and must include a credit in the format "(Image: Name/Organization)" Note there is no full stop after the parentheses at the end of the caption.


The image caption should be directly linked to the body text. So instead of:

The Antiproton Decelerator (Image: CERN)




The CERN Document Server.

See video.



Not centimeter. See units.


centre or center?

Only use the American spelling for American organizations and place names:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Rockefeller Center

Otherwise, stick to centre:

The Sun is at the centre of our Solar System.



CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the organization that operates the European Laboratory for Particle Physics. Lots of experiments take place at this laboratory.

Stick to the official title "European Organization for Nuclear Research" for CERN websites. 

Use the acronym CERN in the singular: 

CERN offers student work placements (not "CERN offer student work-placements")


CERN Council

Upper case for CERN Council.



CERN Data Centre

Formerly the CERN Computer Centre, the CERN Data Centre (CDC) forms Tier-0 of the Worldwide LHC Computing Grid. 

The change is to avoid confusion with the CERN Control Centre (CCC). 


Chemical compounds

Chemical compounds and alloys should be hyphenated, but the elements should not be capitalised:

The current in the dipole magnets is carried by cables made of niobium-titanium (NbTi).


Cherenkov radiation

Not Cerenkov. Though Cherenkov is a somewhat clumsy anglicization of the original Russian, the "Ch" ensures unambiguous pronunciation.

spelling, style


Note the hyphen.


collective nouns

Do they take a singular or plural verb? It depends on the sense, but use singular where possible.


Collide @ CERN

Capital C. The "At sign" in the name can sometimes cause problems with Drupal text formats. To get around this, whenever Collide @ CERN appears in text, separate the @ from the text with spaces.

Collide @ CERN is a 3-year artist’s residency programme at CERN.

spelling, style


The forceful striking together of two or more particles in the accelerator.

Define the type of collision using hyphens:

Lead-ion collisions are more complex and take longer to analyze than proton-proton collisions.


collision or event?

Use "collision" to refer to the exact point in time and space at which particles collide.

An "event" is a snapshot of what happens after a collision; an event is picked up by the detector: particles decay and their decay products form tracks or deposit energy in the detector.

Event displays from the detectors show the collision point in the middle - everything around it makes up the event.


collision point

The point in space within a particle detector at which two or more particles collide to form an event.


Don't use it. Use seminar instead.

See forbidden words


No Oxford comma: The good, the bad and the ugly

NOT the good, the bad, and the ugly

But make sure to add a comma after place names:

The computing school will take place in Uppsala, Sweden, on 16 March.



Contractions such as “there’s” “they’re”, “didn’t”, “he’ll”, “she’d” do not automatically make a story more accessible. Contractions can appear annoyingly chatty, and can be imprecise too (“it’s” can stand for “it is” or “it has”) and so detract from clarity. If anything, contractions make a story harder to understand, especially if there are several of them in the same sentence.

grammar, style


No hyphen.



Give figures in Swiss francs, then euros in brackets. 

"Five grams of enriched lead for the accelerator costs 12,000 CHF (9700)," says Kuchler. 

Use symbols and numerals when quoting specific amounts of common currencies:

£5 million (not 5 million pounds, or five million pounds)

€5 (not 5 euros or five euros)
about $3.5 billion (not about 3.5 billion dollars)


currency conversions

Amounts quoted in sterling, US dollars and euros do not normally need to be converted. The only exception might be if you want readers to be able to make direct comparisons between countries: if that applies you should choose one as the standard.

Any other currency should be converted the first time it is mentioned to the equivalent in US dollars. There are a number of currency converters on the net: xe.com covers any currency you are likely to encounter.



A cyclotron is an apparatus in which charged atomic and subatomic particles are accelerated by an alternating electric field while following an outward spiral or circular path in a magnetic field.

Perhaps the most important improvement has been the replacement of an electrical magnet with a series of permanent magnets to generate the cyclotron's magnetic field.


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