Window to illustrate bubble chamber experiments. Courtesy CERN PhotoLab.

The acronym CNAF stands for Centro Nazionale Analisi Fotogrammi (National Center for Frame Analysis) and takes us backward through time to 1962, when CNAF was founded as a new INFN Technological Center dedicated to the analysis and high precision measurement of bubble chamber photographic films.
At that time, bubble chambers were used in many nuclear physics labs – and in many INFN sites – to detect elementary particles and create images of their interactions.

The original mission of CNAF was to centralize in a single center the big facilities for high precision measurement of bubble chamber films, such as the Flying Spot Digitizer, and the computers for real time data acquisition and pre-processing.
CNAF hired physicists, engineers, technicians and operators to develop and exploit early devices to digitalize the tracks of elementary particles produced by bubble chambers. The FSD was made available to all Italian INFN sites, and CNAF was in charge of coordinating its use by all the different groups.
The creation of CNAF was promoted by Prof. Puppi and Clementel, and its first location was in the CNEN (National Committee for Nuclear Energy) Computing Center, close to the IBM 7094, one of the most advanced computers of the time.

Prof. Masetti lead the institute from 1962 to 1986, through all the bubble chamber phase and to the beginning of the new Telecommunication/Networking activities.

For more than half a century, from photography and bubble chambers to distributed computers and networks, the original mission of CNAF to be at the forefront of the rapidly evolving digital technologies for nuclear and particle physics research is basically unchanged.

For more information, please download the brochure of the 50th anniversary of CNAF.