Alfredo Susini 1926–2013

Alfredo Susini, an expert in RF cavities, died at home in Switzerland on 17 August after a long struggle with illness.

Alfredo was born in Imperia, Italy. An electrical engineer, he was working for the Italian Military Aviation as an expert in microwaves in the 1950s when he was selected by Edoardo Amaldi to work at CERN as an RF engineer in the Synchrocyclotron (SC) Division for the 600 MeV accelerator. He was a brilliant engineer and even though he did all of his computing on a pocket calculator he was never proved wrong. He was among the first to use ferrites and water to damp the higher modes of resonance of the RF cavities.

He soon became a world leader in RF for cyclotrons and synchrotrons and, when the SC was stopped, he moved to the Proton Synchrotron Division and took leave from CERN during 1973–1977 to work for Scanditronix AB in Sweden to construct the RF systems for a 120 MeV/nucleon research cyclotron at the Hahn-Meitner Institute in what was then West Berlin. The spin-off from this project became a production chain of medium-sized cyclotrons in the energy range 40–60 MeV, which were built for research, isotope production and neutron therapy.

Alfredo contributed to the construction of the 40 MeV cyclotrons for Euratom in Ispra, Italy, and for the Clatterbridge Hospital in the UK, as well as 60 MeV machines for Seattle in the US and Seoul in Korea. He also collaborated with the Gustav-Werner Institute of Uppsala, the INFN synchrocyclotron of Catania, the Antoine Lacassagne Hospital in Nice and the TERA Foundation in Pavia, and was "Libero docente" at the University of Pisa.

Alfredo was used to building his RF cavities on a small budget, sometimes even re-using equipment that had been discarded by other groups. He impressed his colleagues when at the Low Energy Antiproton Ring at CERN he constructed the RF cavity using a wooden box that he covered internally with aluminium paper. The cavity worked perfectly for six months. Because of this attitude he often came into conflict with some of his younger colleagues, who were not used to recycling.

In private, Alfredo was gentle and full of curiosity. He often enjoyed sailing with a small boat on Lake Geneva or on the sea at Isola del Giglio, where he spent his vacations in a summer residence. He leaves behind his wife Clara and two sons, Stephane and Alberto, who had made him a grandfather.

He is greatly missed and will be remembered by us all.

His friends and colleagues.