A rendez-vous with history

François de Rose, one of the founding fathers of CERN, visited the Laboratory. On this occasion, CERN organised a ceremony for his 100th birthday.

François de Rose, guided through the CERN control centre by Pierre Strubin from the Technology department.

It was a moving, almost surreal, scene. On Wednesday 24 November, François de Rose, one of the founding fathers of CERN, visited the CERN Control Centre. In the early 1950s, François de Rose, a French diplomat, helped establish CERN along with some of the greatest physicists of the time. Standing in a futuristic room that only science fiction writers could have imagined when CERN began, the diplomat – who turned 100 only a few days before his visit - marvelled at the progress that had been made in nearly 60 years. Taking in the rush of operators – including those from PS, an accelerator which he inaugurated as President of the Council in 1960 – François de Rose shared his emotions: “I feel a great sense of pride and admiration when I see that the ideals of peace, progress and universality that created CERN have been preserved after so many years. That the spirit of the founders has endured over the years confirms their ideals were right. Their wildest dreams have been exceeded.”

François de Rose at CERN during the ceremony organised for his 100th birthday. From left to right: Torsten Åkesson, former President of Council, Carlo Rubbia, Nobel Prize in physics and former Director General, Rolf Heuer, Director General, and Herwig Schopper, former Director General.                                  

CERN organised a birthday celebration for the diplomat. François de Rose spoke to the audience there, reiterating his sense of pride for CERN and adding a bit of humour. "You know, it is not an achievement to reach 100 years. With a little patience, you can get there eventually. On the other hand, every day there are real achievements here at CERN.” François de Rose left CERN with a promise to return for the discovery of the Higgs boson, "in two years" he estimates.


by Corinne Pralavorio