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Published: 21.06.2007, 06:00
Modified: 20.06.2007, 22:01
Austria and Switzerland nominate Felicitas Pauss
Will ETH Zurich physicist become CERN Director?

(per) Switzerland and Austria have nominated ETH Zurich Physics Professor Felicitas Pauss for the post of General Director of the CERN European Research Centre near Geneva. According to the Internet newspaper “” (1), Austrian science minister Johannes Hahn announced this on Monday during a visit to CERN. The current General Director is the Frenchman Robert Aymar. His term of office finishes at the end of 2008.

Healthy chance

The decision regarding his successor is taken by the CERN Council made up of one representative from each of the current 20 member states with one vote each. A short list of candidates will be adopted in September and the decision is due in December. According to Hahn, Felicitas Pauss has good prospects for the post as head of CERN. She has worked in the research centre for a long time and gained management experience during many years as head of the Institute for Particle Physics at ETH Zurich. The physicist also has an excellent scientific track record. (2)

If Felicitas Pauss is chosen, she can look forward to an exciting term of office. It is expected that a new particle accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), will be commissioned at CERN in spring 2008. Protons will be accelerated to almost the speed of light in a 27 kilometre underground ring and allowed to collide. This will produce hitherto unattained energies so high that the elementary particles fragment into their constituents, and the conditions prevailing are similar to those existing only a few moments after the Big Bang. The scientists hope this will give them a deeper understanding of the structure of matter and answers to questions about the origin of mass and the nature of the dark matter in the universe.

CERN brings together many thousands of scientists

CERN, founded in 1954, is the world’s largest particle physics research centre. The research establishment is currently funded by 20 European member states. CERN directly employs about 2500 staff and around 6500 guest scientists. The research centre’s annual budget is approx. 700 million Euro.

Felicitas Pauss, Professor of Particle Physics, has a chance of being chosen as Director of CERN in Geneva. large

(1) Leading Austrian-born physicist is candidate for the top post in CERN:
(2) Personal web site of Felicitas Pauss:

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