Change at the top for the CERN physics schools

After directing the CERN physics schools since 1993, Egil Lillestøl has handed over to Nick Ellis. At the same time, Hélène Haller has taken over from Danielle Métral as the schools’ administrator.

From left to right: Nick Ellis, Hélène Haller, Danielle Métral and Egil Lillestøl.

The CERN physics schools for young experimentalists date back to the 1960s and as early as 1971 collaboration with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna led to the Joint CERN-JINR schools, which reached beyond CERN’s Member States every two years. Then, in 1993, CERN and JINR agreed to organize the schools jointly every year, as the European School for High-Energy Physics. Egil Lillestøl, has not only run this school very successfully since then, but also created the CERN Latin American School of High-Energy Physics, beginning in 2001. Danielle Métral has been responsible for the schools’ administration since 2001, both for the European and for the Latin-American schools. Now the team is handing the reins over to Nick Ellis as the new schools director and to Hélène Haller as the incoming schools administrator.

"The schools provide an outstanding opportunity for the participants to extend their knowledge through the lectures and discussion sessions, and also to discuss their own work with the teaching staff at the poster session," explains Lillestøl. "Nick has been with me since we took over the new series of the CERN-JINR school in 1993. In handing over the responsibility to him and his new team I am confident that the schools are in the best hands."

For his part Ellis says "I am looking forward to the challenge of directing the CERN schools of physics in collaboration with colleagues from JINR and from Latin America, building on the long tradition of these schools that bring together young scientists from different parts of the world. The schools will continue to maintain the highest levels of academic excellence and to foster collaboration between researchers from different countries."

Many well known particle physicists have passed through the schools – not least CERN’s current Director General, Rolf Heuer. At the celebration on 13 October to mark the handover, he warmly thanked Lillestøl for all his work, noting that in its present incarnation the European school has contributed to the successful integration of more nations at CERN. JINR director, Alexei Sissakian, who has been involved with every joint school from 1971 proposed a toast to "a good transformation of the directorate of the school and to the preservation of its traditions, wishing all the best to Nick and Hélène."

Christine Sutton