APS announces 2010 winners

The American Physical Society (APS) has announced many of its awards for 2010, naming recipients in particle physics and related fields, who are rewarded for their contributions not only to experimental and theoretical physics but also to public service and human rights.

Six physicists share the 2010 J J Sakurai Prize for outstanding achievement in particle theory: Robert Brout and François Englert of the Université Libre de Bruxelles; Gerald Guralnik of Brown University; Carl Hagen of the University of Rochester; Peter Higgs of Edinburgh University; and Tom Kibble of Imperial College, London. They are rewarded "for elucidation of the properties of spontaneous symmetry breaking in four-dimensional relativistic gauge theory and of the mechanism for the consistent generation of vector-boson masses". Their work (done independently by Brout and Englert; Guralink, Hagen and Kibble; and Higgs) was key to the development of electroweak theory and ultimately today’s Standard Model of particle physics (CERN Courier January/February 2008 p17).

Experimental verification of the mechanism for generating masses is one of the key goals of current research in particle physics, for example, at Fermilab’s Tevatron, which has been at the high-energy frontier for 20 years. In recognition of this, Fermilab’s John Peoples receives the Robert R Wilson Prize for Achievement in the Physics of Particle Accelerators "for critical and enduring efforts in making the Tevatron Collider the outstanding high-energy-physics accelerator of the last two decades".

The Tevatron should soon be joined by the LHC in probing within and beyond the Standard Model, but over the past decade the best evidence for new physics has come from solar neutrinos. Eugene Beier of the University of Pennsylvania has worked with neutrino experiments for the past 30 years, at Brookhaven, at the Kamiokande II experiment and at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory. He receives the W K H Panofsky Prize in Experimental Particle Physics for his "major contributions to studies of neutrino interactions, especially studies of solar neutrinos demonstrating unequivocally the existence of neutrino flavour oscillations".

In nuclear physics, the Tom W Bonner Prize aims to encourage outstanding experimental research, including the development of a method, technique or device that significantly contributes to the research in a general way. Steven Pieper and Robert Wiringa of Argonne National Laboratory are rewarded with the 2010 prize for their "development of quantitative, ab initio calculations of the properties of nuclei from A=6–12, including deep physical insight into the nature of nuclear forces and the application of state-of-the-art computational physics".

The APS awards also go beyond purely recognizing research. The Edward A Bouchet Award is "to promote the participation of under-represented minorities in physics by identifying and recognizing a distinguished minority physicist who has made significant contributions to physics research". The 2010 award goes to a particle physicist, Femilab’s Herman White, "for his contributions to KTeV experiments and the establishment of a new kind of interaction distinguishing matter from antimatter, as well as his outstanding public service and mentorship roles".

Last, but by no means least, the Andrei Sakharov Prize is named "in recognition of the courageous and effective work of Andrei Sakharov on behalf of human rights, to the detriment of his own scientific career and despite the loss of his own personal freedom". Joseph Birman of the City College of New York at the City University of New York, Morris (Moishe) Pripstein of the National Science Foundation and Herman Winick of SLAC receive the 2010 Sakharov Prize "for tireless and effective personal leadership in defence of human rights of scientists throughout the world". Pripstein is well known as a particle physicist from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and also as a co-founder of the human-rights group "Scientists for Sakharov, Orlov and Sharansky (SOS)". Herman Winick, who has made many contributions to synchrotron-radiation sources and research, was instrumental in initiating SESAME, the UNESCO-sponsored international centre for Synchrotron light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East.

Change at the top for CERN physics schools

After directing the CERN physics schools since 1993, Egil Lillestøl has handed over to Nick Ellis. At the same time, Hélène Haller has taken over from Danielle Métral as the schools’ administrator.

The CERN physics schools for young experimentalists date back to the 1960s and as early as 1971 collaboration with the JINR in Dubna led to the Joint CERN–JINR schools, which reached beyond CERN’s member states every two years. Then, in 1993, CERN and JINR agreed to organize the schools jointly every year, in the form of the European School for High-Energy Physics. Egil Lillestøl has not only run this school successfully since then but has also created the CERN Latin-American School of High-Energy Physics, beginning in 2001. Danielle Métral has been responsible for the schools’ administration since 2001, both for the European and for the Latin-American schools. Now the team is handing the reins over to Nick Ellis as the new schools’ director and to Hélène Haller as the incoming schools’ administrator.

Many well known particle physicists have passed through the schools – not least CERN’s current director-general, Rolf Heuer. At a celebration on 13 October to mark the handover, he warmly thanked Lillestøl for all of his work, noting that in its present incarnation the European school has contributed to the successful integration of more nations at CERN. JINR director Alexei Sissakian, who has been involved with every joint school from 1971, also thanked the teams and proposed a toast to "a good transformation of the directorate of the school and to the preservation of its traditions, wishing all the best to Nick and Hélène".

Novozhilov celebrates 85th birthday in St Petersburg

Yuri Novozhilov, a leading Russian scientist and the head of the theoretical physics department of the V A Fock Institute of Physics of St Petersburg State University, celebrated his 85th birthday in November.

A pupil of Vladimir Fock, the founder of the St Petersburg school of theoretical physics, Novozhilov has been leader of the school for decades and is known around the world for his work as a theorist. His main scientific interests are quantum-field theory, in particular the functional approach, bosonization in meson physics using chiral and conformal anomalies, induced gravity, as well as chiral solitons and the chiral parametrization of gluons.

Science and teaching are unseparable for Novozhilov. In 1961, under the guidance of Fock, he established the chair of high-energy physics and elementary particles in what is now St Petersburg State University. This chair actively supervises the continued education of new generations of students. He has also been active in organizing the annual "V Fock Schools" in St Petersburg for theoretical physics students, which are popular in the republics of the former Soviet Union and are sponsored by UNESCO.

The existence of the St Petersburg team that since 1992 has participated in the preparations of the ALICE experiment for the LHC is also a result of Novozhilov’s vision. He actively supports the development of new ideas and it was he who encouraged the organization of a new field of experimental physics in the theory department more than two decades ago.

For more than eight years (1973–1981) he was associated with UNESCO, as director in the department of scientific and technological development, which was responsible for the UNESCO–CERN collaboration and supported the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste. In this context he represented UNESCO on several occasions on the CERN Council.