Emilio Picasso (1927-2014)

Many people in the high-energy physics community will be deeply saddened to learn that Emilio Picasso passed away on Sunday 12 October after a long illness. His name is closely linked in particular with the construction of CERN’s Large Electron-Positron (LEP) collider.


Emilio studied physics at the University of Genoa. He came to CERN in 1964 as a research associate to work on the ‘g-2’ experiments, which he was to lead when he became a staff member in 1966. These experiments spanned two decades at two different muon storage rings and became famous for their precision studies of the muon and tests of quantum electrodynamics.

In 1979, Emilio became responsible for the coordination of work by several institutes, including CERN, on the design and construction of superconducting RF cavities for LEP. Then, in 1981, the Director-General, Herwig Schopper, appointed him as a CERN director and LEP project leader. Emilio immediately set up a management board of the best experts at CERN and together they went on to lead the construction of LEP, the world’s largest electron synchrotron, in the 27-km tunnel that now houses the LHC.

LEP came online just over 25 years ago on 14 July 1989 and ran for 11 years. Its experiments went on to perform high-precision tests of the Standard Model, a true testament to Emilio’s skills as a physicist and as a project leader.

We send our deepest condolences to his wife and family.

A full obituary will appear in a later edition of the Bulletin.

See also the CERN Courier, in which Emilio talks about the early days of the LEP project and its start-up.