The News Minute | November 5, 2014 | 04:56 pm IST
London: Italian physicist Fabiola Gianotti who first revealed to the world that the Higgs boson exists will become the first female director general of the prestigious European Organisation for Nuclear Research, popularly known as CERN.
Gianotti will be the 16th person to lead the European physics powerhouse, based at the Swiss-French border outside Geneva, Nature reported.
“Congratulations to Fabiola and also congratulations to CERN because I think CERN will be in very good hands,” announced current director general Rolf-Dieter Heuer at a press conference in Geneva.
Gianotti will take over from Heuer Jan 1, 2016.
She was the spokesperson for ATLAS - one of two experiments at CERN’s Large Hadron Collider (LHC) that discovered the Higgs boson, thus completing the standard model of particle physics.
“To me, the full exploitation of LHC is the main priority and the main objective,” Gianotti told the media.
She also said that CERN should look beyond the LHC and continue to develop technology for future colliders “to reach the highest energies possible at an affordable cost”.
According to her, women who are highly successful researchers and managers can provide inspiration for young girls who might be interested in having a career in science.
We will have to be very vigilant that young female scientists have the same opportunities as their male colleagues, she maintained.
“Fabiola is a superb scientist, led ATLAS to a great discovery and is respected and well-known around the world. She fully understands that high-energy physics is a global enterprise and CERN is at the centre,” noted Nigel Lockyer, director of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois.
Gianotti has more than a year to prepare for the new job and will spend that transition time talking to as many people as possible, the report added.