Gordon Fraser (1943-2013)

We were deeply saddened to learn that Gordon Fraser had passed away on 3 January. During his 25-year career at CERN, until his retirement in 2002, he made many valuable contributions to the Laboratory, in particular as editor of CERN Courier.


Gordon’s life in science began at Imperial College London, where he obtained a PhD with the theory group of the future Nobel laureate Abdus Salam. He then spent time at Tel Aviv University in Yuval Ne’eman’s group and at Brighton University, before changing career to become a journalist, at first for Computer Weekly in London. He moved into scientific editing at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in 1975 and it was from there that he was hired to join the publications team at CERN in 1977.

By 1982 Gordon had become the editor of the CERN Courier. During his time at the helm, both particle physics and the Courier changed considerably. Under his careful stewardship aspects of publishing were outsourced, leading to an attractive, professional magazine with a worldwide reputation.

These developments required the creativity and sharp writing skills for which Gordon became well known, not only through the Courier but also through his books about particle physics. The Search for Infinity (with E. Lillestøl, I. Sellevåg and M. Beazley, 1994), an illustrated popular introduction to particle physics and cosmology, was translated into nine languages.

Gordon took early retirement in 2002 to concentrate on writing books, most recently Quantum Exodus – Fugitive Jews, the Atomic Bomb, and the Holocaust (OUP 2012), which he presented at the CERN library last summer.

A well-known figure at CERN, he was a keen runner, often seen powering around the Meyrin site on his lunchtime run. He will be missed by many, especially by those who were fortunate enough to have worked with him.

His colleagues and friends