Directors General appointed

At a special session on 21 March the CERN Council appointed J B Adams and L Van Hove as Directors General for five years beginning 1 January 1976. Dr Adams will be responsible for the administration of CERN, the operation of equipment and services and the construction of buildings and major equipment. Professor Van Hove will be responsible for the research activities.

When Council approved the construction of the 400 GeV super proton synchrotron in 1971, it set up a second Laboratory. The two laboratories were to be unified when the accelerator was completed. The SPS is due to be commissioned during 1976 and Council has decided that the laboratories should be unified from January of that year when the present DG of Laboratory I, Professor W Jentschke, will have completed his five year term.

John Adams joined CERN in its earliest days and, after leading the team which built the 28 GeV proton synchrotron, became Director General in 1960 before returning to England. He came back to CERN as Director of the 300 GeV Accelerator Project at the beginning of 1969 and became Director General of Laboratory II in 1971. Leon Van Hove came to CERN in 1961 as Head of the Theoretical Physics Division and has since taken a leading role in the scientific life of the Organization, twice serving as Director of the Theoretical Physics Department (in 1966–68 and 1972–74).

• Compiled from text on p109.

Pastures new

Elliptical mirrors of the large Cherenkov counter used in association with the Omega spectrometer. These mirrors reflect the Cherenkov light onto four sets of parabolic light collectors (sets are visible above and below the white-coated gentleman). The counter, which was built at Saclay, has been working in the CERN West Hall for two years and will also be involved in the first experiments with the 400 GeV proton synchrotron. Meanwhile, it is the essential component of the triggering system in an experiment looking for charmed particles.

• Compiled from text on p111.

ESO: discovery of a comet

A new comet has been identified by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) on a photographic plate exposed on 15 October last year with the ESO Schmidt telescope at La Silla, Chile. This comet has been christened WKI from the names of its three discoverers [R M West at ESO/CERN in January, L Kouhoutek at the Hamburg Observatory in February and T Ikemura, an amateur astronomer, in March in Shinshiro, Japan]. It is the first to be discovered by ESO and the first to be found at the Sky Atlas Laboratory installed at CERN.

Comets are a kind of contaminated snowball, consisting essentially of ice and various impurities like minerals. They are of special interest because they are probably the remains of the outside fringe of the original gas-cloud that contracted to form the solar system. Comets become visible when they pass close to the Sun, which heats them and produces a halo of incandescent gas (the head) blown by the solar wind (the tail).

• Compiled from texts on pp111–112.

Compiler’s note

Heads or tails? To the uninformed, ESO’s sighting of a new comet on a photographic plate could just as well be the sighting of a new micro-organism in a Petri dish. The beauty, and the thrill, is in the eye of the beholder!

The April 1975 CERN Courier cover (left) poked fun at the relation between ideas and results in high-energy physics. A different view featured on p109. Eminent theorist V F “Vicki” Weisskopf, CERN Director General from 1961–65, was fond of a Columbus story – “The accelerator physicists and engineers are the ones who built the boat. The experimental physicists are the ones who set sail and discovered America. The theoreticians are the ones who stayed in Madrid and predicted the boat would land in India.”