Werner Kienzle (1936 – 2016)

Werner was born in Wiernsheim, a small town in Baden-Württemberg close to Stuttgart. His childhood was profoundly marked by the war and the death of his father on the German eastern front.


Despite life after the war being difficult for his family, he was very successful in his academic studies and earned a fellowship at the University of Göttingen, where he did his PhD in solid-state physics.

Werner joined CERN in 1964 as a post-doc fellow and he remained at the Organization for his entire career in experimental particle physics. Concerned and eager for peace in the tense context of the cold war, he was deeply involved in collaboration with Russian colleagues and participated in experiments in Serpukhov from 1968 to 1972. Back at CERN, his work concentrated on the search for experimental evidence of the presence of quarks in hadrons. He was among the main initiators of the NA3 experiment at the SPS that measured the structure functions of the pions: the results indicated a cross-section about twice as high as anticipated, and this enhancement, corresponding to QCD high-order corrections, was named the “K” factor by the collaboration as recognition of Werner’s contribution.

Werner was appointed SPS coordinator at the beginning of the eighties and participated in the discovery of the W and Z bosons with the p-pbar collider. In parallel, Werner got involved in new outreach programs: in particular, he was the promoter of the Microcosm in 1988 and the editor of the “Hadrons for Health” reference booklet in 1996. While reaching his retirement age, Werner participated in the development of the total cross-section measurement setups that initiated the TOTEM experiment at the LHC.

Werner was a fantastic and enthusiastic storyteller, an adventurer and an innovator. His wife, Maria, and his sons, Francesco and Marco, can be proud of everything he did for CERN.   

His colleagues and friends