Lionel METRAL (1966-2011)

It was with deep sadness that we learnt on 25 March of the sudden death of Lionel Metral. Lionel was highly appreciated by his colleagues in his professional activities and by all those who met him in his numerous social activities at CERN, in particular the dance club.


Lionel arrived at CERN in 1994 in the framework of the LHC development contracts and rapidly made his mark in the field of cryogenics in which he spent most of his career at CERN. In his first few years, Lionel took part in the design, development and commissioning of a substantial proportion of the test benches for the LHC cryogenic components. Examples of his contributions include his work on the test cryostats for magnetic refrigeration, the test cryostats for the cold compressors, and the test benches for the validation of pressure sensors and cold flow meters. He went on to develop the test benches to validate the LHC current leads.

From 2000 Lionel applied his talents to designing the LHC’s cryogenic electrical feedboxes (DFBs). Through his creativity and his ability to transform ideas into reality in record time, he was one of the drivers of the DFB project. Having developed several prototypes and components, Lionel naturally took over responsibility for the production of the busbar assemblies that are one of the main components of the DFBs. During these years of intensive work, Lionel managed the cryogenic development workshop, where he succeeded in creating a professional environment that was congenial as well as demanding in terms of quality and very successful in terms of performance.

During the period of LHC start-up from 2007, Lionel managed the DFB consolidation operations. Once again, he showed his mettle in the level of his achievements under constant pressure from a very tight schedule. After the events of September 2008, Lionel was once again called upon to make a contribution with the repair of the jumper connections of the LHC cryogenic distribution line. More recently, while continuing to follow-up consolidation operations, Lionel threw himself into new development activities by his contribution to the design of highly advanced cryogenic systems, such as for the integration of the AEGIS magnets, and the development of measuring systems for the Central Cryogenic Laboratory.

In all his activities, Lionel demonstrated an infectious enthusiasm and an energy that was a natural source of motivation for all those who worked alongside him. Whether it was to launch a crash programme to develop a complex system or to organise the end of year meal for the entire group, Lionel was the man to turn to. We have lost not only a colleague but also a friend.

Our thoughts are with his family and all those close to him.


His friends and colleagues