Experimental particle physicist Beate Heinemann has been announced as the new director of DESY’s High Energy Physics division, effective from 1 February. Succeeding interim director Ties Behnke, who held the position since January 2021 when Joachim Mnich joined CERN as director for research and computing, she is the first female director in DESY’s 60-year history.
After completing a PhD at the University of Hamburg in 1999, based on data from the H1 experiment at DESY’s former electron-proton collider HERA, Heinemann did a postdoc at the University of Liverpool, UK, working on the CDF experiment at Fermilab. She became a lecturer at Liverpool in 2003, a professor at UC Berkeley in 2006 and a scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
In 2007 Heinemann joined the ATLAS collaboration in which she helped with the installation, commissioning and data-quality assessment of the pixel detector as well as performing other roles including as data-preparation coordinator during the LHC startup phase. She was deputy spokesperson of the ATLAS collaboration from 2013 to 2017, and since 2016 has been a senior scientist at DESY and W3 professor at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. She was also a member of the Physics Preparatory Group during the 2020 update of the European strategy for particle physics, and since 2017 she has been a member of the CERN Scientific Policy Committee.
Born in Hamburg, Heinemann is looking forward to the many exciting challenges, both scientifically and socially, ahead: “It is very important that we retain and further expand our pioneering role as a centre for fundamental research for the study of matter. In the next few years, the course will be set for the successor project to the LHC, whose technology and location have not yet been chosen. DESY must be actively involved in the preparation of this project in order to maintain and expand its pioneering role,” she explains. “Another topic that is very close to my heart, both personally and through my new office, is diversity. DESY should remain a cosmopolitan, diverse laboratory, and there is still room for improvement in many areas, for example the number of women in management positions.”