Tribute to Daniel Simon

Daniel Simon, PS Division Leader from 1994 to 1999, died on 2 June, 2011, at the age of 74, in Nancy. CERN owes him for a great number of contributions to the experimental areas around the PS and the existence of the Antiproton Decelerator (AD).


Daniel came to CERN in 1962 from the University of Nancy. He first worked in the Nuclear Physics Apparatus (NPA) Division on the electrostatic separators for the secondary beams at the PS, a subject he also chose for his thesis. Then, as a member of the PS-Division, he designed a variety of beam lines, including those providing protons and antiprotons to ICE, the decisive experiment for CERN to launch the antiproton project, based on stochastic cooling. His contributions to the initial layout and further evolution of the experimental areas of LEAR were essential for the success of the LEAR programme. He subsequently drove the decision and worked on the conversion of LEAR into LEIR for the provision of lead-ions to the LHC.

He was one of the leaders of the relocation of ISOLDE to the PS-Booster, which saved this marvelous and now flourishing facility from closure when the 600 MeV Synchrocyclotron was shut down. Undeniably his most commendable achievement was the Antiproton Decelerator (AD), today one of CERN’s cherished facilities, despite its modest size and beam energy. It was he who, in close contact with the physics community, pushed for this project, as he could not accept the demise of low-energy antiproton physics at CERN when LEAR was to be closed and SUPERLEAR not approved. A difficult task at a time when LEP was operating at full-steam and financing for the LHC was not yet assured.

Although a member of an accelerator division, he had a particular affection for experimental particle physics. With a clear view of what CERN ought to do and the conviction that a wide basis was indispensable, he fought valiantly and successfully for the small experiments around the PS complex and kept in close contact with their users, whom he helped wherever he could. His friends and colleagues remember him as an enthusiastic physicist, a thorough and able manager, and a loyal friend.

His colleagues and friends