Chi-Chang Kao takes the reins at SLAC

On 1 November, Chi-Chang Kao became the fifth director of the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. He succeeds Persis Drell, who held the position from December 2007 and had announced her intention to step down in November last year.

Kao came to SLAC in 2010 as associate lab director for the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource. As a respected X-ray scientist, his research focuses on X-ray physics, superconductivity, magnetic materials and the properties of materials under high pressure. His scientific career began with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from National Taiwan University in 1980. After gaining a doctorate in chemical engineering from Cornell University in 1988, he joined Brookhaven National Laboratory to work on the National Synchrotron Light Source and worked his way from postdoctoral research assistant to chair, before moving to SLAC.

SLAC celebrated its 50th anniversary this year (CERN Courier November 2012 p26). Among its facilities, it operates the world’s most powerful X-ray laser, the Linac Coherent Light Source (CERN Courier December 2009 p6).

"With his experience and expertise in X-ray science, Chi-Chang is the right person to set a vision for how this extraordinary machine, as well as SLAC’s other excellent facilities and its world-class scientists, can revolutionize science in the years to come," states the US Department of Energy Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu.

Stöcker begins second term at GSI

Horst Stöcker is to extend his period of service as the scientific director of GSI by an additional five years at the request of the Supervisory Board.

Since Stöcker became scientific director in August 2007, GSI has co-operated with partners in Germany and other countries to fulfil the preconditions for the start of construction of the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR), which will be linked with the existing GSI accelerator facility. The construction of FAIR, which is now under way, is one of the world’s largest projects in basic physics research. To bring together the know-how for the R&D that will be carried out at FAIR, as well as to ensure a supply of new talent in the areas of science and technology, Stöcker has actively built networks with universities and research laboratories.

Approximately 3000 scientists from more than 40 countries are already working on the planning of FAIR. The facility will provide antiproton and ion beams of an intensity and quality never attained before. In its final phase, FAIR will consist of eight circular accelerators with a circumference of up to 1100 m, two linear accelerators and approximately 4 km of beamline.

"The greatest challenge during my next term of office will be to work with GSI to do everything that’s necessary to complete the construction of FAIR," says Stöcker. "To celebrate the commissioning of FAIR during my next term of office would be fantastic."


Dmitry Livanov, the minister of education and science of the Russian Federation, right, and CERN’s director-general, Rolf Heuer, admire the history of the universe on a mug during the minister’s visit to CERN on 22 October. The minister also toured the LHC superconducting magnet test hall, the ATLAS visitor centre and the Antiproton Decelerator facility.

Italy honours CERN and INFN researchers

On 24 September at the Quirinale Palace in Rome, the Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano, greeted Italian researchers from the National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN) and CERN, who, at various levels, have contributed to the recent discovery of a Higgs-like boson.

Napolitano took the occasion to give the honour of Grande Ufficiale dell’Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana to Sergio Bertolucci, director of research and computing at CERN, and to Fabiola Gianotti, spokesperson for the ATLAS experiment.

At the same time, he also gave the honours of Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana to: Fernando Ferroni, President of INFN; Oscar Adriani, co-spokesperson of LHCf; Pierluigi Campana, spokesperson for LHCb; Simone Giani, spokesperson for TOTEM; Paolo Giubellino, spokesperson for ALICE and Guido Tonelli, who was CMS spokesperson until December 2011.