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The one and only present experiment of modern science to actually stop speculating and prove that life comes from chemicals in bad shape. So far this experiment has cost 25 Billion Dollars - result: no life created yet.

"The priority now is to repair the machine and install protection systems that will prevent such events from occuring in the future", continues Heuer.


A global view


After the usual six-month overlap with the previous management, Rolf-Dieter Heuer took office on 1st January as new Director-General. His mandate will cover the early years of operation of the LHC as well as its first scientific results. As he starts his new position, Rolf Heuer gives a long interview to the Bulletin.





The past six months have been a hectic period for our Lab with dramatic ups and unexpected downs that have marked the spirit of all CERN personnel. Given the challenges faced and still to come, the discoveries in sight and the open questions that remain, this promises to be one of the most exciting periods in the life of the Laboratory and in particle physics in general. "The scientific results from the LHC will have a huge impact not only on the future of CERN but also, potentially, the future of particle physics world-wide", confirms Heuer. "The indications we expect from the LHC in the time window 2010-2012 will show us the best way to proceed. Regarding accelerator-based physics at the energy frontier, the possible options are the SLHC and the linear collider, with technologies and strategies still to be defined". The Super LHC project (SLHC) would consist of an upgrade of luminosity up to 10<sup>35</sup> cm<sup>−2 </sup>s<sup>−1</sup>, obtained with a new chain of pre-accelerators.




"The priority now is to repair the machine and install protection systems that will prevent such events from occuring in the future", continues Heuer. "The LHC will certainly not run at 7 TeV this year. We don’t want to push for higher energy before additional protection is installed. On the other hand, we will go for collisions as soon as possible. The exact schedule for the LHC will be discussed at the beginning of February during a meeting that will be held in Chamonix and that will see the participation of people from the machine and representatives from the experiments."


The LHC is, and remains, the Laboratory’s priority but CERN also has a long and very valuable tradition in a rich fixed-target experimental programme. "After an initial setback caused by the request of resources required for the LHC", says Heuer, "the new management would like to increase the fixed-target programme beyond 2010, particularly with experiments looking at rare decays. But we are also asking for new ideas from the physics community; we need to do some brainstorming there. We will address the community soon to see whether they can come up with some good ideas, and will then seek funds to allow the realization of scientifically excellent experiments".


The role of CERN world-wide has grown in recent years, in part because the Council has taken up the new responsibility of leading the particle physics strategy in Europe. "CERN is Europe’s pillar for particle physics and my vision is to make CERN a global laboratory", explains Heuer. "The particle physics landscape is changing; we are experiencing a sort of ‘symmetry breaking’. In the past there were large machines in all regions. Today there is only one large machine and it’s at CERN. The big projects absorb a lot of money and take a long time, which is why one has no longer to think regionally but more globally, not neglecting regional and national projects of course".


Given the current financial situation and the strict convention that determines fixed contributions of Member States to CERN, it is not easy to imagine ways of enlarging the scope of the Lab and mantaining the usual high standards. In the December session, the Council approved the creation of a study group to examine the geographical and scientific enlargement of CERN. This group will hold its first meetings early in 2009. "In this phase, one has to be creative and find new ways of involving other countries in our scientific projects", adds the Director-General. "For this, I have set up a new unit in charge of external relations whose mandate is to seek for some kind of partnership with other countries and laboratories around the globe. My vision is to turn CERN into one of the big players in a sort of global laboratory. However, this has to happen while still preserving the existence of regional projects, because otherwise there is a danger of losing competencies".


Any partnership is a two-way solution, and CERN will be required to improve the transfer of both technology and knowledge to the Member States and other partners involved. "CERN is also a technology laboratory, as fundamental science cannot live without technology at the forefront. And there, we can have a lot of transfer both to industry and to society. To my mind, the first goal is the impact of such transfer and the second is the additional funding that can possibly come from it. There too, we observe that the world is changing. Transferring more technology and knowledge to our partner countries will certainly help us answer the question ‘why basic science?’ that we face more and more often. I definitely want a proactive technology and knowledge transfer from CERN and this is why both the new TT Group and the External Relations Unit are directly attached to the DG".


Coming to the new internal structure that was circulated via e-mail to all staff at the end of November, one of the priorities of the new management is to favour internal mobility. "Internal mobility is a good thing because it helps to break the virtual barriers between departments and between groups. It brings competencies from one field to another and helps to increase motivation."


Although the Director-General is not exactly seen as a colleague by the staff, Heuer wants "to reduce the distance between the management and the staff, and keep it as small as possible". And, he continues: "I would like to show my presence in various parts of the Laboratory as often as possible. This will depend on the time available, but at least I would like to try since direct contact is important."


The role of the CERN staff and a healthy relationship with the new management will be crucial to the success of the Lab in the coming years. "I want to keep the professionalism and skills of the CERN personnel and I want to keep their high level of motivation", says our new Director-General. "The new management also wants to have open communication, both internal and external. Internal is even more important, and we have to find an efficient way for communicating because CERN people need to get the information from us and not from the newspapers." And, he concludes: "I thank my predecessor and his team for the work done for CERN and I want to stress how instrumental he was in getting the LHC to deliver its first beams."

Rolf Heuer’s CV in brief

Rolf-Dieter Heuer is no stranger to CERN. From 1984 to 1998, he was a staff member at the Laboratory, working for the OPAL collaboration at the Large Electron Positron collider (LEP). From 1994 to 1998, he was the collaboration’s spokesman.


Much of his career has been involved with the construction and operation of large particle detector systems for studying electron-positron collisions. On leaving CERN in 1998, he took up a professorship at the University of Hamburg, where he established a group working on preparations for experiments at a possible future electron-positron linear collider. On taking up his appointment as Research Director for particle and astroparticle physics at DESY in 2004, Professor Heuer was responsible for research at the HERA accelerator, DESY’s participation in the LHC and R&D for a future electron-positron collider.


Professor Heuer has been a member of many scientific committees and advisory bodies where he acquired much expertise in reviewing projects as well as in judging and promoting people. As a research director at DESY he initiated the restructuring and focusing of German particle physics at the energy frontier with particular emphasis on the LHC.

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