Les Horribles Cernettes was founded in 1990 by Michele de Gennaro, a graphic designer at CERN, who was in a relationship with a physicist which faced difficulties by his numerous shifts. During the CERN Hardronic Festival, she attracted attention by stepping on stage singing "Collider", a melancholy song about the lonely nights endured by the girlfriend of a high energy physicist:
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
The group was subsequently formed with the help of Silvano de Gennaro, an analyst in the Computer Science department at CERN, who wrote additional songs. The fame of Les Horribles Cernettes grew and they 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 and La Tribune de Genève.. The band's lineup has changed over time, but they were performing under the same name until 21 July 2012, when the band had its final performance, which was at CERN's Hardronic Festival in Switzerland.
Silvano de Gennaro has said that Les Cernettes were the subject of the first photo of a band on the Web:
"Back in 1992, after their show at the CERN Hardronic Festival, my colleague Tim Berners-Lee asked me for a few scanned photos of "the CERN girls" to publish on some sort of information system he had just invented, called the "World Wide Web". I had only a vague idea of what that was, but I scanned some photos on my Mac and FTPed them to Tim's now famous "info.cern.ch". How was I to know that I was passing a historical milestone, as the one above was the first picture of a band ever to be clicked on in a web browser!"
Silvano had taken the picture on July 18, 1992.
The band went into hiatus when Silvano and Michele moved away from the CERN area and officially disbanded in late July 2012 after performing at the CERN Hardronic Festival on July 21st.