General Charles F. Bolden, Jr. and Professor Claude Nicollier reunite during visit to CERN

Thursday 23 June, CERN saw an unlikely and much savoured meeting between two old colleagues and friends: General Charles F. Bolden, Jr. and Professor Claude Nicollier.


Bolden and Nicollier were separately invited to CERN for different reasons - Charles Bolden had been invited by Professor Samuel Ting to visit the newly built and now fully operational Payload Operation and Control Centre of the AMS collaboration and Claude Nicollier had been invited by the Theory Department to give a colloquium. They were delightfully surprised when they met at the entrance of the main building. Bolden and Nicollier served together in the Space Shuttle Program and were trained by NASA during the 1980’s where they became close friends. On 24 April, 1990, Bolden piloted the Space Shuttle Discovery into orbit with the Hubble telescope in the payload bay. Though Nicollier did not accompany Bolden during the Hubble launch, he did return to the telescope 3 years later on board the Space Shuttle Endeavour, the first maintenance mission during which erroneous optical components were replaced in orbit. Nicollier proceeded to return once more to the Hubble over the course of his four missions into space.

Bolden was appointed as the Administrator of NASA in 2009, 5 years after his final space flight, and continues to hold this title. Nicollier now teaches at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, and is still very much involved in the world of aviation. He is the leader of Flight Test Operations for the Solar Impulse, a revolutionary solar airplane that is poised to fly around the world in 2014, powered exclusively by solar energy. 

Read more about Claude Nicollier and Charles Bolden’s visit to CERN in the next issue of the Bulletin, available online on 8 July.



by Jordan Juras