Lebrun receives the Tesla Prize

CERN’s Philippe Lebrun, who led the accelerator-technology department during the construction of the LHC, has been awarded the Tesla Prize. He receives the prize for his role during the construction of the cryogenic high-field magnets that form the most delicate part in the functioning of the collider, contributing to the discovery of a Higgs boson at CERN in 2012. He is also cited as "a remarkable heir to the tradition initiated by Nikola Tesla".

The award ceremony took place on 20 September in the Montenegro National Theatre in Podgorica, in the presence of Crown Prince Nicolas Petrović Njegoš of Montenegro, who established the prize in the framework of the Petrović-Njegoš Foundation. The foundation aims to affirm the Montenegrin culture, and participation in humanitarian and development activities. Tesla’s own contribution to the field of magnetism is honoured in the name of the SI-derived unit of magnetic flux density, the tesla.


Georges Charpak: Bringing nations together through science

A mini-conference dedicated to the 90th anniversary of the birth of Georges Charpak took place on 21 July in Lviv, Ukraine, during the Trans-European School of High-Energy Physics (TESHEP), which was held on 17–24 July.

Charpak was born in 1924 in Dabrowica, Poland – now Dubrovytsia in Ukraine. He moved to France at the age of seven, and went on to join CERN in 1959. In 1968, he invented the multiwire proportional chamber, which revolutionized particle physics and brought him the 1992 Nobel Prize in Physics (CERN Courier December 2010 p33).

A passionate physicist, Charpak was also involved in many social, educational and humanitarian projects, and served as a source of inspiration to many scientists. In 1992 he founded the organization Physique sans frontiers, and supported its effort to set up the Four Seas Conference series. Starting in Trieste in 1995, these took place later in Sarajevo (1998), Thessalonika (2002), Istanbul (2004) and Iasi (2007). Their focus on south-eastern Europe gave the region’s young scientists the opportunity to learn about the most recent advances in science and technology. The conferences also served as a way to express the solidarity of the European scientific community with all those who, under difficult conditions, seek to keep alive diverse intellectual and cultural links, and to emphasize the unity of science.

This year, when Charpak would have been 90, CERN is celebrating 60 years of science for peace, following its foundation in 1954. During a particularly fragile time for Ukraine, scientists from France, Ukraine, Poland and CERN met together in the National University "Lviv Polytechnic" in memory of Charpak and to continue his scientific and cultural traditions. The "Charpak Event" was organized as part of TESHEP, which, for the sixth year in a row, brought together high-energy-physics students with the aim of reinforcing east–west scientific and pedagogical links in Europe. Despite the current situation in Ukraine, the event attracted around 100 participants, and was attended not only by local authorities and well-known scientists, but also by students of Lviv University and members of the Lviv department of the Minor Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.

Welcoming talks were given by Borys Grinyov, of the State Agency on Science, Innovation and Information, as well as by representatives of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine, Lviv City Administration and Lviv Polytechnic University. "Charpak is the symbol of scientific co-operation", was the leitmotiv of the opening talk by Gilles Mametz, the attaché for scientific and university co-operation of the French embassy in Ukraine. Then, in her talk on the theme "CERN: Science unites nations", Agnieszka Zalewska, the president of CERN Council, emphasized the idea that Charpak always aimed for physics in the service of humankind – with scientists working together peacefully at the frontiers of research and disseminating results as widely as possible.

Building on the existing partnership between France and Ukraine, Achille Stocchi, director of Laboratoire de l’accélérateur linéaire (LAL), Orsay, summarized the pedagogical and scientific relations between the two countries and ways to expand the collaboration in the context of experiments at CERN. Nicolas Alamanos, deputy-head of Institute of Research into the Fundamental Laws of the Universe (IRFU), Saclay, then spoke on technology domains of potential co-operation between France and Ukraine, and about the Micromegas detector concept developed in 1996 in a collaboration between Charpak and scientists from Saclay. Following a discussion of the French–Ukraine activities, Henry Sobczuk of the Polish Academy of Science emphasized a key partnership between the two countries.

The programme of the mini-conference was complemented by a documentary film about Charpak, The Nobel prize, and the presentation of the Ukrainian version of his autobiography. Last but not least, the event ended with two presentations about future projects in high-energy physics, and a look at the history of instrumentation, from multiwire proportional chambers to novel gaseous detectors. The latter provided a complementary view on the history of particle physics, which is often told from a theoretical perspective.

A physicist who transformed the measurement of high-energy particles, a fascinated educator, and a magician – Georges Charpak contributed a significant part of his efforts to enhance the role of science diplomacy in opening up the possibility to tackle global challenges and improve the lives of people via the development of novel technologies, and in ensuring cultural exchanges between different nations.

• The one-day "Charpak Event" was organized jointly by the French Embassy in Ukraine, the EU/Science and Technology Centre in Ukraine (STCU), LAL/IN2P3-CNRS, IRFU/CEA Saclay, CERN, the RD51 Collaboration, the Ukrainian State Agency on Science, Innovation and Information, and Lviv Polytechnic University. For more information about the event, visit https://indico.cern.ch/event/331478/.


Riding the waves of new electrons at the NSRRC Users’ Meeting

There was great expectation and eagerness at the 2014 National Synchrotron Radiation Research Center (NSRRC) Users’ Meeting, which took place at the NSRRC’s new activity centre in Hsinchu on 10–12 September. The workshop not only gathered users of the NSRRC’s first accelerator facility, the Taiwan Light Source (TLS), but also had the mission to outline developments for the coming decades at the recently completed second accelerator, the Taiwan Photon Source (TPS).

With the 1.5 GeV TLS available to researchers since 1994, NSRRC currently operates 26 beamlines in the TLS and two beamlines at SPring-8 to support experiments conducted by more than 2000 users in 2013. The TPS – a $230-million project – is based on a 3 GeV electron accelerator and a low-emittance synchrotron storage ring of 518.4 m circumference (CERN Courier June 2010 p16). Involving more than 145  full-time staff in design and construction, it is now ready for commissioning.

Shangjr (Felix) Gwo, appointed as director of the NSRRC on 1 August, is ready to bring the NSRRC staff and users, collaboration partners, academic researchers and industrial customers to the table for discussions on future developments. These include the construction plan for the TPS phase-I beamline, preferred research programmes at the TPS, reinventing the services of the existing TLS experimental stations, and promoting the design and manufacture of various insertion devices and accelerator subsystems, to transform the TPS accelerator team into a service provider with an "engagement with industry", after the completion of the TPS project.

As the users’ meeting unfolded, the preparation of TPS commissioning, led by Chien-Te Chen, director-general of the TPS Construction Project, and Gwo-Huei Luo, NSRRC deputy-director, continued to progress. The completion of TPS construction and the integration tests of all its subsystems provided momentum for the discussions on future research and developments at the accelerator. NSRRC’s director, Shangjr Gwo, hosted the "town meeting" held on the first day immediately after six selected users had reported on their research, offering a glimpse of how they make use of the capabilities of the TLS. Inputs from users will be taken into account for strategic decisions on the role and operational mode of the TLS, a stable light source for mainly soft X-rays, after some of its beamlines and experimental stations are relocated to the TPS.

Following the town meeting, four workshops proceeded to offer an overview of existing research projects and the opportunity to compare techniques and methodologies practiced at facilities elsewhere, with speakers invited from institutes in Australia, China, France, Germany, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland and the US. The discussions in the workshops will be extended to become a part of the initiatives for future implementation and advances at the TPS. The programmes of four workshops highlighted the diverse applications of the scientific fields that exist in Taiwan on a variety of X-ray analysis and scattering techniques.

• For more on the NSRRC Users’ Meeting, visit http://regis.nsrrc.org.tw/index_en.html.


CAS introduces accelerator physics in Prague

The CERN Accelerator School (CAS) and the Czech Technical University in Prague jointly organized a course providing an introduction to accelerator physics, held in Prague on 31 August to 12 September. The course, which took place in the Hotel Don Giovanni on the outskirts of the city, attracted 111 participants of 29 nationalities, coming from countries as far away as Armenia, Argentina, Canada, Iceland, Thailand and Russia.

The intensive programme comprised 41 lectures, three seminars, four tutorials and six hours of guided and private study. A poster session and a one-minute/one-slide session were also included in the programme, where the students were able to present their work. During the second week, the afternoon lectures were held in the Czech Technical University in Prague. In addition to the academic programme, the students had the opportunity to visit the medieval site of Kutna Hora and the Velke Popovice Czech brewery. A special dinner was organized on the Vyšehrad steamboat on the Vltava.

Next year, CAS will organize a specialized course on accelerators for medical applications, to be held in Brunn am Gebirge, Austria, on 26 May–5 June 2015. The next course on advanced accelerator physics will be held in Poland in the autumn of 2015.

• For further information on forthcoming CAS courses, visit www.cern.ch/schools/CAS.


Proton Synchrotron controls

CERN 60 Years

The Proton Synchrotron (PS) control room on the Meyrin site in 1963 (top left) was all manual: for each parameter, a knob or a button to control it, for each signal, a light or meter or oscilloscope to monitor it. Carefully written pages served as the data bank, phones and intercom for communication.

A decade later, in 1974, the control room looked much the same (top right), although white coats were no longer in fashion. However, a revolution was on hand, developed in the early 1970s for the Super Proton Synchrotron (SPS), which was controlled from a separate centre on the Prévessin site.

The SPS was controlled centrally from three desks, each with its own minicomputer (bottom left). Only a few knobs and switches were used for all of the many thousands of digital and analogue parameters of the accelerator, and a half-a-dozen displays. This saw the introduction of the first touch screens (CERN Courier April 2010 p13). In the late 1980s, the Large Eelectron–Positron (LEP) collider was also controlled from Prévessin.

By the 1990s, as well as the PS, all of its related machines (Linacs 1, 2 and 3; the PS-Booster; LEP-Injector Linacs and the Electron–Positron Accumulator; the Antiproton Accumulator, Antiproton Collector, Low Energy Antiproton Ring and more recently the Antiproton Decelerator) were controlled from the PS control room at Meyrin, while the SPS and LEP were controlled from Prévessin.

With the imminent start up of the LHC, in 2005 all controls were transferred to a new CERN Control Centre at Prévessin (bottom right), bringing together all of the operators and facets of the LHC injector chain, and also managing the beams to other experimental facilities in CERN’s unrivalled accelerator complex.