The Very First Image on The Internet

Aug 27, 2020 0 comments

Back in the early nineties, when the World Wide Web was still young, a group of geeky girls hailing from the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN)—the birth place of the World Wide Web—used to perform at the organization and other HEP (High Energy Physic) events. They called themselves the “Les Horribles Cernettes” which translates to "The Horrible CERN Girls". They sang about colliders, antimatter, Higgs boson and cosmic rays.

It began in 1990 when a graphic designer at CERN, Michele de Gennaro, got tired of waiting for her physicist boyfriend who was forever on shift, and decided to attract his attention by stepping on stage during the CERN Hardronic Festival to sing about her lonely nights. She got one of her friends to write the song, and a couple of others to accompany her on stage, and thus the “Les Horribles Cernettes” was born. Their first song, named Collider, was this:

I gave you a golden ring to show you my love
You went to stick it in a printed circuit
To fix a voltage leak in your collector
You plug my feelings into your detector
You never spend your nights with me
You don't go out with other girls either
You only love your collider
Your collider.

In 1992, after their show at the CERN Hardronic Festival, Tim Berners-Lee (the inventor of the WWW who was then working as a fellow at CERN) asked Silvano de Gennaro, a member of Les Horribles Cernettes, for a few scanned photos of "the CERN girls" to publish them on the information system he had just invented -- the "World Wide Web". Miss Gennaro had only a vague idea of what that was, but she scanned some photos on her Mac and FTPed them to Tim's now famous "". This was the image:


That picture became the very first to be ever published on the web and viewed through a web browser.

As their fame grew, the girls who billed themselves “the one and only High Energy band” were invited to international Physics conferences and The World'92 Expo in Seville, as well as celebrations such as Georges Charpak's Nobel Prize party. They received press coverage from numerous newspapers, including The New York Times, The Herald Tribune, La Tribune de Genève, and the CERN Courier.

The “Les Horribles Cernettes” have been performing for the last 30 years, although their lineup has changed over time.

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