Georges Charpak 1924–2010

26 October 2010

Many people around the world, not only particle physicists, were deeply saddened to learn that Georges Charpak passed away on 29 September.

A student of Frédéric Joliot-Curie at the Collège de France, Charpak joined CERN in 1959, just five years after the organization’s foundation. From the start, he applied himself to the development of new particle-detector techniques. His outstanding and pioneering efforts – particularly the invention of the multiwire proportional chamber in 1968 – revolutionized particle physics, taking the field into the electronic age. The techniques he pioneered are reflected in many experiments today, not only in particle physics but in many other areas of research.

The significance of his work did not go unnoticed and was crowned with the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1992. In making this award, the Swedish Academy recognized not only Charpak’s contribution to science but also to society. Detectors evolved from his pioneering work have found applications in many walks of life ranging from medicine to security.

A full tribute and obituary will appear in the next issue of CERN Courier.

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