Turkish air crash is a great loss for physics

The news of the untimely deaths of six Turkish physicists, Engin Arik, Berkol Dogan and Engin Abat from Bogazici University, and Senel Boydag, Iskender Hikmet and Mustafa Fidan from Dogus University, was a shock for many in the physics community. The physicists were killed when their flight from Istanbul to Isparta crashed on 30 November. They were travelling to a workshop on the Turkish Accelerator Centre, a project involving a collaboration of 10 Turkish universities.

Some of those who passed away were world-renowned, while others were young, talented and just starting their careers. All had connections with CERN. Arik, in particular, was a nuclear physicist with a worldwide reputation. She pioneered Turkish involvement at CERN in experiments such as the Spin Muon Collaboration, the CERN Axion Solar telescope (CAST) and ATLAS. She was also fully engaged in promoting particle physics in Turkey and in getting her country more involved in European science projects.

Arik joined the ATLAS Collaboration early in its beginnings some 15 years ago. With her enthusiasm for physics, she motivated several generations of young physicists, who worked hard and successfully on the project. Engin Abat and Berkol Dogan were among these young, bright students.

Arik and Dogan were also members of the CAST Collaboration, with Boydag and Hikmet. While Senel and Iskender supported CAST from afar, Arik and Dogan had a strong presence in the work at CERN, active in both data analysis and in the preparation and running of the experiment. Indeed, Berkol had spent two long periods at CERN where he proved himself absolutely sound and 100% reliable.