Italian woman named to head CERN physics lab

AFP - [email protected]
Italian woman named to head CERN physics lab
Gianotti with CERN's acting director-general Heuer. Photo: Maximilien Brice/CERN

Italian physicist Fabiola Gianotti was named on Tuesday to lead the Geneva-based European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN), the first woman to head up the globally renowned particle physics lab.


Gianotti, who joined CERN in 1987, was project leader from 2009 to 2013 of the Atlas collaboration, one of two teams tasked with finding the Higgs boson particle, for which scientists had been searching for over 40 years.
Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano was quick to applaud the 52-year old's appointment, saying he was "hugely and sincerely pleased".
Gianotti was selected by the centre's ruling council and her new role will be officially confirmed in December.

She will replace Rolf Heuer, who presided over the launch of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) used to find the Higgs boson.
"Being the future director of CERN is a huge honour, distinction and responsibility," Gianotti, who will take up the role in January next year, told journalists as Italy celebrated her appointment.
"I will try to maintain CERN's role on the front line in the fields of scientific excellence, technology, innovation, education and international collaboration," she said.
Her appointment "confirms, once more, how Italy and its talents are able to compete with success on the international scene and how scientific research deserves a more fitting investment of resources by our institutions," Napolitano added in a statement.
Leader of the lower house of parliament Laura Boldrini, a longtime campaigner for women's rights in Italy, said she was "proud that an Italian is leading CERN and, for the first time, a woman."


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
Please keep comments civil, constructive and on topic – and make sure to read our terms of use before getting involved.

Please log in to leave a comment.

See Also