Ned Goldwasser 1919–2016

Edwin Goldwasser, deputy director of Fermilab when the laboratory was founded in 1967, died on 14 December at the age of 97. Goldwasser oversaw the construction of Fermilab (or the National Accelerator Laboratory, as it was then known), completing it on time and under budget. He also scheduled its experimental programme, managed its programme Advisory Committee and implemented its groundbreaking equal-employment programme. Goldwasser remained as the laboratory’s deputy director until 1978, taking an extended leave of absence from the University of Illinois to serve at the new facility.

“When Ned took leave from the University of Illinois to help create Fermilab from green fields, the project took on new dimensions: a truly effective concern for the variety of people to build it, and a dedication to make it both fruitful for its users and attractive for the professional development of its staff,” says emeritus professor of the University of Illinois Ralph Simmons. “All this was combined with contagious yet critical enthusiasm for the discoveries made possible.”

After setting Fermilab firmly on its feet, Goldwasser returned to the University of Illinois in 1978 as vice chancellor for research and dean of the graduate college. In 1986, he took another extended leave to join the central design group of the proposed Superconducting Super Collider facility, where he served as associate director until 1988. In 1990, following his retirement from the university, he was appointed a distinguished scholar at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) to work on the LIGO project.

Goldwasser did his undergraduate work at Harvard University. Following service as a physicist with the US Navy, he received his PhD in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, then served a year on the faculty there before moving to the University of Illinois in 1951.

“Ned was a natural leader, who was instrumental in making Fermilab a place where both physics and physicists thrived,” says Barry Barish, professor emeritus of physics at Caltech and the first director of LIGO. “I will personally miss his wisdom and guidance. In every way, Ned was a class act.”

• Based on an article written for the Fermilab website,

Hans Jürgen Hilke 1938–2016

Hans Jürgen Hilke, a true experimental physicist and an inspirational colleague, passed away on 15 October. He completed his diploma thesis in 1965 at Hamburg University, then went to CERN to develop a bubble chamber activated by the wave pattern produced from an ultrasonic quartz oscillator. Having earned his doctorate in 1969, he soon became engaged in the construction of the external muon identifier for the Big European Bubble Chamber (BEBC). After completing the project and having operated the detector for its first exposures, Hans Jürgen took a sabbatical at the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked on time-projection chambers (TPCs). While at Berkeley, he became engaged in the most challenging aspect of large-TPC design, leaving his characteristic imprint of good judgment and technical prowess on the complex TPC read-out planes, in particular. Despite the chaotic environment of a pioneering enterprise, Hans Jürgen’s unflappable and gracious perspective was highly appreciated by all involved.

The experience he gained in working with TPCs motivated Hans Jürgen to introduce this technology to the experiments at CERN’s Large Electron–Positron Collider, in particular DELPHI (for which in 1980 he became technical co-ordinator). The successes of the complex DELPHI detector are in large part due to Hans Jürgen’s drive, care and attention to detail. In 1989, at the start up of data-taking, the collaboration encountered many unexplained cut-offs of the superconducting magnet coils, which constituted the world’s largest solenoid at that time. After many unsuccessful attempts by the constructor, Hans Jürgen discovered and understood the origin of these cut-offs, and in a couple of days DELPHI was able to take data.

From 1991 to 1994 he was deputy leader of CERN’s experimental-physics division, with particular responsibility for the mechanical and electronics engineering groups.

In January 1997 he joined the LHCb experiment, where he took over the function of technical co-ordinator and immediately became heavily involved in preparing various Technical Design Reports. Working in his usual energetic and passionate manner, Hans Jürgen quickly became familiar with the experiment and played a crucial role in strengthening its capabilities in several areas such as the magnet, photon detectors in the ring imaging Cherenkov detectors, and the muon system. He also took responsibility in financial matters and safety, and undoubtedly played a significant part in the success of the LHCb experiment.

Besides his scientific qualities, his integrity and honest character were always very much appreciated. Hans Jürgen was always ready to hear different opinions and did not hesitate to take difficult decisions. His extensive knowledge and experience with various detector technologies paired with his co-ordination skills earned him credibility and authority. Colleagues who had the pleasure to work closely with Hans Jürgen will never forget him and his intellectual honesty, directness of speech and dedication to CERN and its experiments.

In his private life, Hans Jürgen’s wide interests, his love of classical music and great care in all personal relations were a continuous inspiration to his family and friends. Our deepest sympathy goes to his wife, children, brother and their families.

• His friends and colleagues.

Jean Yoccoz 1925–2016

Jean Yoccoz, one of the pioneering directors of the French National Institute for Nuclear Physics and Particle Physics (IN2P3), passed away on 30 December at the age of 91.

Born into a modest peasant family in Savoie, Yoccoz succeeded brilliantly in his studies and was admitted to Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. Attracted by theoretical nuclear physics, he entered Frédéric Joliot’s laboratory in Collège de France and then joined Rudolf Peierls at the University of Birmingham in the UK, where he undertook a PhD that established the link between the shell and Bohr–Mottelson models of the nucleus. The 1957 Peierls–Yoccoz paper continues to be regularly cited today. Having been appointed professor at the University of Strasbourg, he continued his research and in 1966 moved to Grenoble University. However, it was high-level scientific management to which Yoccoz would orientate his career and invest his intellectual talents to the service of our community.

At the end of the 1960s there was great debate in France concerning the organisation of particle physics and whether a national accelerator programme could still be afforded. After eight years of unsuccessful attempts, the IN2P3 institute was created in 1971 (without a high-energy machine) to co-ordinate and support research done in the many French laboratories involved in nuclear and particle physics. Its first director, Jean Teillac, immediately called on Jean Yoccoz as a deputy, and in 1975 Yoccoz became the next director – a position he held until 1983.

The early years of IN2P3 were very important to establish an efficient structure allowing laboratories to retain their identities while also being integrated within prioritised large projects. One of the aims was to achieve high visibility for French particle physicists on the international scene, and Yoccoz’s vision turned out to be correct. It led during his mandate to the launching of large programmes at CERN on the SPS and later on LEP, but also with the first large-scale experiment to be installed abroad (CELLO at DESY, Hamburg). In 1982, Yoccoz signed an agreement with then CERN Director-General Herwig Schopper for the construction of the LEP linac injector at the Laboratoire de l’Accélérateur Linéaire (LAL, Orsay). Yoccoz was also instrumental in shaping a new landscape for nuclear physics with the creation of the IN2P3-CEA national laboratories Saturne at Saclay and GANIL in Caen with competitive accelerators.

We remember Jean Yoccoz as an exemplary director for IN2P3. He steered the institute through occasionally difficult times when he had to defend its specificity and the need for large resources, including highly qualified technical personnel. His human qualities were recognised by all. He could interact with people whatever their level in the same benevolent spirit. He knew how to listen, but his decisions were always firm and clear.

In the last months of his life, Jean Yoccoz was deeply affected by the loss of his son Jean-Christophe, a mathematician and winner of the Fields Medal who died prematurely last September. Our condolences go to his family, particularly his two sons Nigel Gilles and Serge.

• Michel Davier.