A tribute to friends

CERN commemorates the lives of those who passed away in the Isparta plane crash on 30th November.

The news of the untimely deaths of six Turkish physicists, Engin Arik, Berkol Dogan and Engin Abat from Bogazici University, and Senel Boydag, Iskender Hikmet and Mustafa Fidan from Dogus University, on a flight from Istanbul to Isparta on Friday 30th November was sad for us all, but felt especially by those who worked closely with them. The physicists were travelling to a workshop on the "Turkish Accelerator Centre", a project involving a collaboration of ten Turkish universities. Some of those who passed away were world-renowned physicists whilst others were young, talented and just starting their careers. Here they are remembered in tributes from those who knew them and worked beside them.

In a message to the Turkish mission in Geneva, CERN Director General, Robert Aymar, expressed his sorrow at hearing the news: "This is a great loss for the physics and research community world-wide. In this dark moment, I would like you to know that the sorrow is shared by all those at CERN who have recognized and appreciated their qualities. On behalf of CERN, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to you and to all those in bereavement due to this loss."

Engin Arik was head of the Experimental High Energy Physics Department at Bogazici University in Istanbul and worked on both the ATLAS and CAST projects. Ken Peach, Chairman of the Scientific Policy Committee and who worked with Engin in the 1970s and 1980s, said "She was a talented physicist with enormous energy and enthusiasm, her fierce determination hidden behind her warm smile. She will be sadly missed by all who knew her. Our thoughts are with her family and friends."

Message from the CAST Collaboration

The tragic loss of six Turkish physicists in the Isparta air crash on 30th November has had a truly devastating effect on all the members of CAST, who learnt of the news with shock and absolute disbelief.

The CAST experiment is small enough to be still like a family; noisy, lively, sometimes fractious and often living at the limit of (or even beyond) its means. But, like a family, a tight cohesive unit when working together on a common project.

And of the six Turkish physicists who died in the crash, four were CAST members - Engin Arik, Senel Boydag, Iskender Hikmet and Research Student Berkol Dogan. Whilst Senel and Iskender quietly supported CAST from afar, Engin and Berkol had a strong presence in the CAST work at CERN. They were very active in both data analysis and in the preparation and running of the experiment.

Engin was a renowned nuclear physicist with a worldwide reputation. She pioneered the Turkish involvement in experiments like SMC, ATLAS and CAST. She was a clever person, full of energy, working tirelessly. She was respected in physics with a broad knowledge and a lot of experimental expertise. She was fully engaged in promoting particle physics in Turkey and in getting her beloved country more involved in European Science projects.

Ironically, while she spent her life working for the benefit of Turkish science, she lost her life going to a conference in order to advance a Turkish accelerator project. In CAST, colleagues noticed a strong spirit of true friendship among Turkish and Greek groups. No doubt, Engin and her team contributed a lot to this, for they were not only thoroughly professional scientists but also they were warm and genuine people.

We will remember Engin as a wonderful lady. But a professor’s reputation depends also on her/his students. For Engin, one shining example was our Berkol. What a wonderful, friendly, polite, helpful, humorous and highly appreciated human being he was! He was also a talented PhD student, who spent two long periods at CERN and was involved in absolutely everything! He held the record for the number of shifts made on CAST and was considered by all as absolutely sound and 100% reliable. He was like everyone’s kid-brother and was loved by all. His tragic loss has caused many tears and much anguish, for he will never now fulfill his great promise and we will be deprived of his company.

As ancient Greeks used to say "Το πεπρωμένον φυγείν αδύνατον", in Turkish, "Kadere karşı gelemezsin", meaning "You cannot escape your own fate".

Fate was unfair to Engin, Senel and Iskender and even more so to young Berkol. We miss them all terribly; their loss has brought the CAST family together in a strong outpouring of grief and solidarity. We must now carry on without them and we are resolved to do our utmost in the future to find the elusive axion for them. We will think of them at every step along the way.

On behalf of the CAST Collaboration
Martyn Davenport (Technical Co-ordinator)
Konstantin Zioutas (Spokesperson)

Message of condolence from the ATLAS Collaboration

It was with great shock and deep sorrow that the ATLAS Collaboration was informed of the tragic death of our colleagues. Many of us had much more than a professional relationship with them: we also lost dear friends.

In this dark moment our first thoughts are with the close families and friends of the victims. We would like to convey our sincere condolences to them. Our sympathy extends very much also to all our Turkish collaborators, to colleagues in the Physics Departments, and also to the whole Turkish particle physics community.

Professor Engin Arik pioneered the Turkish involvement in ATLAS, as she did more generally the Turkish involvement in CERN. She joined the ATLAS Collaboration very early on from its beginning 15 years ago. With her enthusiasm for physics she motivated several generations of young physicists working hard and successfully on the project. It is so sad that she will not now be able to share the final results of our common dream when the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) turns on and produces new physics.

Engin Abat and Berkol Dogan were among these young, bright students that came out of the school of Engin Arik. They worked for the future of physics with great love for science, as they learned from their professor. Words are not adequate to express how cruel it is that they will miss all the excitement to come, for which they worked so hard.

The spirit of collaboration in ATLAS set up by Professor Engin Arik will remain, and we will do our best to cultivate it. She will not be forgotten in ATLAS, and we hope to honour her memory, as well as those of Engin Abat and Berkol Dogan, by continuing a fruitful common exploration of the physics of which they would all have loved to be a part.

On behalf of the ATLAS Collaboration
Peter Jenni (Spokesperson)