Alice-Anne Martin (1926 - 2016)

Alice-Anne Martin, known as “Schu” from her maiden name Schubert, passed away on 8 January 2016.


(Image: Gérard Bertin)

Hired the year CERN was founded, 1954, when the construction of the Laboratory had not even begun, Schu first worked at the Villa de Cointrin (a historic building now within the grounds of Geneva airport) as a secretary. In this role, she typed the convention between CERN and the Swiss Confederation, prepared by Stéphanie Tixier, as well as some of the "Yellow Reports" that have marked key points in the Laboratory’s history. For example, using a special typewriter with two keyboards – Latin and Greek – she typed the Yellow Report on the KAM theorem by Rolf Hagedorn.

Schu also worked with Felix Bloch, the first Director-General of CERN, and later became the secretary of Herbert Coblenz, the first CERN librarian. She was head of the team that edited the proceedings of the 1956, 1958 and 1959 international conferences in Geneva.

In addition to a very rich professional life, Schu enjoyed representing CERN in skiing competitions organised by various international organisations, including the UN, ILO, ITU and WHO. Schu won three such competitions and was personally congratulated by CERN’s Director-General Cornelis Bakker.

In 1959, she was introduced by Julius Wess, one of the inventors of the theory of supersymmetry, to André Martin, a Parisian physicist, and very soon they were married. She then became the secretary of Pierre Lapostolle, who was head of the Synchrocyclotron division. However, in 1963, when her husband was invited by Robert Oppenheimer to join the Institute for Advanced Study, she had to leave the Organization as, at that time, non-scientific staff were not allowed to take leaves of absence.

Upon returning to Geneva, she decided to devote herself to her children and family life. However, she kept in contact with CERN, in particular through the CERN Women’s Club, founded by Jenny Van Hove. Everyone who knew her says she was a wonderful person.

Her colleagues and friends