Joaquin Inigo-Golfin (1965-2011)

It is with immense sadness that we learned that Joaquin INIGO-GOLFIN passed away last week; until the very end we hoped that he would win the battle he so heroically fought. Joaquin was a very special person who left no one indifferent. His professional skills, warmth and openness were matched with a sense of humor that made him a friend and colleague “à part”.


Joaquin joined CERN in August 1992 to work in the Cooling and Ventilation Group where he spent almost all his professional career covering many disciplines and responsibilities: operations, installation and design. He was also responsible for the introduction of new technologies to CV, such as Computer Aided Design, and for the evaluation and adoption of Computational Fluid Dynamics, particularly for the analysis of complex thermal systems.

The remarkable results Joaquin achieved through his work and strong technical competence made him the natural candidate to lead the design section responsible for all the LHC cooling & ventilation studies. He was not only responsible for the LHC design activities, but also played an instrumental role in the definition of the technical requirements for the restructuring of the SPS cooling systems.

In 1998 Joaquin was appointed as the ST technician responsible for the coordination of the different divisional activities during the construction and integration phases of the ATLAS Experiment. Thanks to his affable and communicative personality he excelled in this role,evoking excellent team spirit in his group and making many friends in the process.

In 2004 Joaquin was promoted to lead the Cooling & Ventilation group, in this role he guided his colleagues through all the challenges, difficulties and triumphs encountered during the different phases of the LHC project.

Joaquin always impressed the people who came into contact with him through his hard work ethos, often working to extremely short deadlines and always to very high standards. When dealing with the most sensitive issues Joaquin conscientiously took on all of the work himself to ensure that his colleagues were not heavily burdened with additional stresses. Joaquin had a razor sharp mind; he could immediately cut to the core of a problem and could articulate to others his innovative ideas, but was also open to discussion and ideas from others. He was able to defend his position on solid technical grounds and he often came up with solutions satisfying all people concerned.

Joaquin was a natural mentor, providing help and inspiration through his encyclopedic knowledge and actively encouraging the development of the people who had a chance to work with him. Joaquin’s door was always open to provide support and a friendly conversation. His charisma, quick wit, and charm motivated all his colleagues to give their best and made him a natural leader.

As a father and as a friend to many, Joaquin distinguished himself with his character, his humour, and his wide cultural interests, ranging from arts to history; with ancient books being one of his greatest passions.

Even during his last months, when his condition was deteriorating, he always kept up a positive spirit together with courage and determination, his biggest wish being to return to CERN, a place that he deeply loved.

He will always have a special place in our hearts.
Our thoughts and deepest sympathy go to his family and to those who have been very close to him.

His friends and colleagues


We deeply regret to announce the death of Mr Joaquin INIGO-GOLFIN on 23 February 2011. Mr INIGO-GOLFIN, who was born on 18 May 1965, was a member of the EN Department and had worked at CERN since August 1st 1992.

The Director-General has sent his famiy a message of condolence on behalf of the CERN personnel.

Social Affairs
Human Resources Department