National Technical University of Athens honours Rolf Heuer

In October 2015, the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) awarded the degree Doctor honoris causa to Rolf Heuer, Director-General of CERN from 2009 to 2015.

Evangelos Gazis of NTUA, in his laudatio, highlighted Heuer’s "outstanding contribution to the field of particle physics for his excellent management of CERN and his involvement during the LHC commissioning, which led to the discovery of the Higgs boson" (Nobel prize 2012). Heuer was also awarded for his strong involvement in science policy-making, his support of the NTUA particle-physics community, and for his efforts and vision to disseminate scientific and technological results to the general public.

Joel Butler elected as the new CMS spokesperson

On 10 February, members of the CMS collaboration Board, the "parliament" of the collaboration, held a ballot to appoint their next leader. The Board chose Joel Butler, who brings a wealth of experience – more than 30 years at Fermilab and more than 10 of those with CMS – to this important management role, leading a collaboration of 3000 people from across the globe.

Prior to joining Fermilab, Butler earned a degree in physics from Harvard University, before pursuing a PhD in experimental particle physics from MIT. Since joining the CMS collaboration in 2005, he has contributed to several endeavours, including the US efforts on the Forward Pixel Tracker and the upgrade project. He led the overall US participation in the collaboration from 2007 until the end of 2013.

Soon after his election, Butler declared that high on his priority list is making sure that all collaborators are able to participate in the collaboration’s research easily and to the best of their abilities. When he takes over at the helm later this coming September, CMS will have moved its Run 2 data collection into a higher gear: "These will be years of tremendous opportunities and tremendous challenges. I think the opportunities are obvious: by the end of this period, we’ll have close to 100 fb–1 of data. We should get the first 25 by the end of this year. It will be enormously exciting to see what nature has in store for us," he said.

While Butler has spent much of his career studying flavour physics, he prefers not to narrow his personal expectations of what CMS might discover over the coming years. "I’m a particle physicist, I want to go find out what’s there. I don’t have too many profound prejudices over what it should be. I think – I hope – we will see new physics soon. But even if we don’t find anything quickly, we will still have a long, long way to go. We have to continue to upgrade CMS and to cast a broad net out wide to try to catch what’s out there, because we really don’t know what the new physics might be or how much data we need to capture it," he affirms.

"I think we’ve constructed a fantastic detector that’s very well suited to the physics that we’re trying to explore. That’s an extreme compliment to our founding fathers, who designed a great detector." To ensure that CMS can continue this fruitful exploration, Butler points out that the collaboration has crucial technical tasks in the coming months, such as installing a new pixel tracker and new sensors for the hadron calorimeter during the next year-end technical stop.

Butler takes the reins from a distinguished line of previous spokespersons. He has worked closely with many of them in the past, and says he expects to apply what he has learnt from each of them, when he starts his term. "I’ve been on the Management Board and the Executive Board as an adviser to all of them since I joined. The experience that our former spokespersons and many other people in CMS have had over the years is invaluable and had to be a guidepost to our future. We have to take advantage of that experience." However, he is aware of the value of change: "Every successful organisation has to continually try to make successive improvements or it will essentially get stagnant. While CMS is enormously successful, there are things we can do better."

Understandably, Butler is excited to take on his new role in a collaboration in which he has worked for a long time: "I think CMS is an absolutely spectacular collection of people that are really passionate and committed to doing physics. They have tremendous technical and analytical skills and are a pleasure to work with," he says. "It’s a tremendous honour to be chosen to do this and I’m going to try to do my best for everybody."

New awards for artists at CERN

Arts@CERN has recently announced the winning artists of COLLIDE Geneva, ACCELERATE Lithuania and ACCELERATE UAE. CERN’s programme fosters creative collisions between science and art, and has also recently launched the COLLIDE International Award – a new collaboration between CERN and the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT) in Liverpool (UK).

In the framework of the new award, a two-month residency programme will grant the winning artist time to explore and reflect on the crossover between artistic and scientific research at the largest particle-physics laboratory in the world. Consequently, the artist will spend a one-month residency at FACT, developing the winning proposal into production.

Cassandre Poirier-Simon receives a three-month residency at CERN, in the framework of the COLLIDE Geneva programme, which is funded by a joint partnership between the Republic and Canton of Geneva and the City of Geneva. The programme now has a category for "digital writing", so the selected artist can now explore the scientific atmosphere in this way.

In March, the ACCELERATE Lithuania and ACCELERATE UAE juries also announced their respective winners: Julijonas Urbonas and Aisha Juma. These two short-residency awards opened last September, in collaboration with the Rupert Arts and Education Centre in Vilnius, Lithuania and ADMAF in Abu Dhabi, UAE.


On 24 March, the president of the Swiss Confederation, Mr Johann Schneider-Ammann, paid a short visit to CERN. The president was welcomed by CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti, and also met with Frédérick Bordry, director for Accelerators and Technology, Martin Steinacher, director for Finance and Human Resources, and Friedemann Eder, head of CERN’s Host States Relations Section. During the visit, the president was accompanied by Erik Reumann, spokesperson of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research, Alexandre Fasel, ambassador and permanent representative of Switzerland to the United Nations Office and other international organisations in Geneva, and Patrick Pardo, counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations Office and other international organisations in Geneva. The exchanges covered, among other topics, CERN’s scientific future (High-Luminosity LHC and beyond) and the strong support of Switzerland as a host state. Here, president Johann Schneider-Ammann (left) and CERN’s Director-General Fabiola Gianotti (right) are pictured after signing the guestbook, at the conclusion of the visit.