Prizes and awards

  • Jacques Séguinot of the Collège de France and Tom Ypsilantis of CERN and Bologna share a special prize of the Société française de physique for their continual innovative work in the field of particle detectors, in particular for the conception and development of the Ring Imaging Cherenkov (RICH) technique for particle indentification.
  • Karl-Ludwig Kratz of Mainz, driving force behind the nuclear astrophysics programme at CERN's ISOLDE on-line isotope separator, wins the 1999 ACS Award in Nuclear and Radiochemistry.
  • Johann BienleinJohann BienleinOn 4 November Johann Bienlein of DESY was made professor honoris causa at the Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics, Cracow, Poland. The honour was also bestowed on DESY Director Bjoern Wiik on 9 January.

CERN elections and appointments

At the meeting of CERN's governing body, Council, in December, G Kalmus (Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, UK) was appointed Chairman of CERN's Scientific Policy Committee for one year from 1 January 1999. D Trines (DESY), S Ozaki (Brookhaven), A Golutvin (ITEP, Moscow) and J Feltesse (CEA, France) were elected members of the Scientific Policy Committee for three years from 1 January 1999.

J Van der Boon, previously Head of Personnel at NWO (the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) in The Hague, has been appointed as Leader of CERN's Personnel Division for three years from 1 April 1999. From 1 January to 31 March W Blair will run the division ad interim.

Nicholas Kemmer 1911-98

Nicholas Kemmer's legacy to physics was his monumental work in the late 1930s on the application of the charge independence of nuclear forces using the new idea of isotopic spin, which led to his prediction of the neutral pion, the first example of the prediction of a particle using a symmetry principle.

Kemmer had an extraordinary international background ­ born in Tsarist Russia and educated initially in the UK and then in Germany, eventually moving to Göttingen, the cradle of modern quantum mechanics, then Zurich, where he went on to work with Pauli at the ETH, and London. During World War II he worked at Cambridge, and after a spell in Montreal returned after the war to Cambridge, where he nurtured a generation of new theoretical physics research talent at a valuable time. In 1953 he moved to Edinburgh to inherit Max Born's chair.

  • The XVth Particles and Nuclei International Conference (PANIC) will be held in Uppsala, Sweden, from 10­16 June. See "" or e-mail "".
  • A Workshop on Polarized Protons at High Energies ­ Accelerator Challenges and Physics Opportunities ­ will be held at DESY, Hamburg, Germany from 17­20 May, covering both accelerator physics and spin physics in polarized scattering. Secretariat: H Haertel/heraspin, DESY; ""; "".

Prominent nuclear physicist becomes Japanese Education and Science Minister

Prof. Akito Arima, former president of the University of Tokyo and a prominent nuclear theorist, has been appointed Minister of Education, Culture, Sport and Science in the new Japanese cabinet. He is well known worldwide for his contribution to the shell model of the atomic nucleus.

As the president of the University of Tokyo, he re-established relations between universities and the government and revitalized Japanese universities. After retiring from the University of Tokyo, he served as president of the RIKEN Institute of Physical and Chemical Research and as science advisor to the Education Minister. He also played important roles in many government councils for national education and basic research.

In his new position he receives proposals from councils and makes decisions about not only higher education and basic research, but also nationwide education, culture and even sport. Although his new responsibilities are wide, his previous experience covered most of them. He is also a well known poet.

It is the first time in Japanese history that a nuclear physicist, even a scientist, assumes the nation's top position in education, culture, sport and science. Welcoming this move, many scientists in Japan see it promising well for basic research.

Late news...

The heaviest element yet discovered, with 114 protons per nucleus, has been synthesized by a team led by Yuri Oganessian at the Flerov Laboratory for Nuclear Problems, Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Dubna, near Moscow. With 175 neutrons, the nucleus sits comfortably on a long-predicted "island of stability" and has a half-life of 30 seconds. In comparison, nucleus 112, discovered in 1996 at the GSI heavy ion laboratory, Darmstadt, decays in less than a thousandth of a second. Nucleus 113 has yet to be discovered.