ESS lays new foundations for science

Several hundred members of the European scientific community gathered at the construction site of the European Spallation Source (ESS) in Lund, for the Foundation Stone Ceremony on 9 October. The event was held to lay the foundation not only of the new facility, but also for a new generation of science in Europe.

The ESS is a consortium of European nations co-operating in the design and construction of one of Europe’s largest active infrastructure projects, which has evolved to meet the scientific demand for facilities that are beyond the capability of individual nations or institutions in scope and complexity (CERN Courier June 2014 p27). Following two decades of increasingly sophisticated technical design work, scientists, engineers, project managers and builders have now embarked on the construction of the most powerful neutron source in the world. The facility will provide the tools to enable discoveries in nanotechnology, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, materials engineering and experimental physics. Both the research to come and the establishment of the facility itself will serve as an economic driver for all of Europe.

The foundation-stone event follows the ESS ground-breaking held in early September, when the host countries, Sweden and Denmark, recognized their successful establishment of the pan-European political and economic partnership for ESS. First neutrons are expected by 2019 and the first experiments are scheduled to begin in 2023.

Italian industry and culture come to CERN

At the fifth Italy at CERN, held on 8–10 October, 30 Italian companies presented their products and services. The exhibitors came from a range of technical fields, including superconducting technologies and engineering components. Maurizio Serra, Italian ambassador to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva, visited the stands after inaugurating the exhibition together with CERN’s director-general, Rolf Heuer.

Accompanying the industrial stands was an exhibition of a different kind, with paintings by Alberto Di Fabio. In addition, each evening featured Italian musicians in CERN’s main auditorium, with performances by the Associazione Musicale Progetto Bel Canto and Duo Poem.

UN and CERN celebrate 60 years of science for peace and development

CERN 60 Years

At a special event at the United Nations headquarters in New York on 20 October, CERN and the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) celebrated science for peace and development, a culmination of events to mark CERN’s 60th anniversary. Under the chairmanship of the ECOSOC president, Martin Sajdik, the event included a series of speeches from eminent scientists and world leaders, who underlined the role that science has played in peaceful collaboration, innovation and development.

Following Sajdik’s opening speech, introductions were given by the president of the 69th UN General Assembly, Sam Kutesa, and UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon. Addresses by the permanent representatives for Switzerland, Paul Seger, and France, François Delattre, preceded a speech by CERN’s director-general, Rolf Heuer, who stressed the importance of effective dialogue between science and international affairs.

The keynote speeches began with Carlo Rubbia, Nobel laureate in physics and former director-general of CERN, followed by Kofi Annan, Nobel-peace-prize laureate and former UN secretary-general. Both spoke about the role that science has played in the past decades to bring people together. Hitoshi Murayama, director of the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe, University of Tokyo, and Naledi Pandor, minister for science and technology of the Republic of South Africa, then spoke on what science can do to contribute to pressing global issues.

Invited representatives of the world of politics, diplomacy and science took part in an interactive discussion, introduced by CERN’s Fabiola Gianotti, who is a member of the Scientific Advisory Board to the UN secretary-general. Concluding remarks came from Sebastiano Cardi, chair of the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly, and a video message from Irina Bokova, director-general of UNESCO, as well as from Heuer and Sajdik.

The UN is supportive of science and its role in society, and this event follows on from when CERN was granted observer status to the UN General Assembly in 2012 (CERN Courier January/February 2013 p5).

• For a recording of the webcast, visit

French Physical Society honours Guillaume Unal

Guillaume Unal, of CERN, has been awarded the Jean Ricard Prize by the French Physical Society (SFP). He was presented with the award by Alain Fontaine, president of the SFP, in a ceremony at the Musée du quai Branly in Paris on 21 October, after a presentation by Livio Mapelli, head of CERN’s physics department. Unal has worked on the CDF experiment at Fermilab and on UA2, NA48 and ATLAS at CERN, where he was a key contributor to the understanding of the liquid-argon electromagnetic calorimeter, and the discovery of the Brout–Englert–Higgs boson in the γγ channel.

The Jean Ricard Prize is the SFP’s most prestigious award, and has been awarded to an experimental high-energy physicist only a few times since its creation in 1970. The former recipients in experimental high-energy physics are Georges Charpak, Paul Musset, Marcel Banner, Yves Declais, Alain Blondel and Daniel Fournier.

ITEP presents the 2014 Pomeranchuk Prize

Alexander Zamolodchikov of Rutgers University and Leonid Keldysh of the P N Lebedev Physical Institute, Moscow, received the 2014 Pomeranchuk Prize in a ceremony at the Institute for Theoretical and Experimental Physics (ITEP) on 18 September. The prize – established by ITEP in 1998 in memory of Isaak Pomeranchuk – is awarded annually to one foreign and one Russian theoretician, for outstanding achievements in the field.

Zamolodchikov was honoured for outstanding results in mathematical physics, including exact S-matrices in the theory of integrable systems, the construction of two-dimensional conformal field theories, and exact results in renormalization group dynamics. His work has found many applications in the theory of elementary particles, condensed matter and string models. Keldysh received the award for outstanding results in solid-state physics, including the theory of tunnelling phenomena in semiconductors, a diagram technique for non-equilibrium quantum systems, and the prediction of exciton condensation. They are used in many areas, for example quantum field theory and quantum cosmology.