Jean-Paul Diss (1928-2012)

We were greatly saddened to learn of the sudden death of Dr Jean-Paul Diss at his home on 7 June 2012.


Jean-Paul studied medicine at the Strasbourg Faculty of Medicine and began his career as an occupational medical practitioner at the Mulhouse potash mines. He then came to CERN in 1965 to set up a Medical Service at the request of the then CERN Director-General, Professor Weisskopf. He was the first person to hold the position of Head of the Medical Service and he invested all his energies to provide the Organization with an occupational healthcare unit worthy of the name.

As a pioneer of occupational medicine, he worked tirelessly to improve the working conditions of the members of the personnel and continued to be solicitous about the health of every member of the personnel until his retirement in 1993.  Over the past twenty years, he remained active within the CERN Pensioners Association, in particular as the pensioners’ representative on the CERN Health Insurance Supervisory Board, of which he was a member from its inception until only a few months ago. He made a particularly important contribution to the setting-up of the Long-term Care Scheme, the introduction of home care and the establishment of the retirement home in Ferney-Voltaire. He was particularly enthusiastic about, and active in, the recent project on brain ageing conducted jointly with the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG). 

Jean-Paul was a cultured man, respectful of tradition, who left a special mark on members of CERN past and present and thus on the Organization itself, and will be remembered for his rigour, his rational approach and for his faultless good manners. His dignity in all circumstances always earned him the respect of those who came into contact with him. He was also highly respected and appreciated for his kindness and devotion by the French and Geneva medical community, with which he established close links.

Jean-Paul had many other qualities, in particular a gift for music. He was an organist and a member of the CERN Choir, of which he was several times President. He was and remains for us a master and an example to be followed for his investment in medecine.

The CERN Medical Service