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Fabiola Gianotti appointed as first woman chief of CERN

Nov 5, 2014 17:20 IST

The Italian physicist Fabiola Gianotti on 4 November 2014 was appointed as first woman chief of CERN particle physics research centre.

She became the first woman to be put in charge of a top global scientific institution in the field.

She will replace Rolf Heuer and will take up the post in January 2016. She aims to make further discoveries about the origin and makeup of the universe.

Her appointment was decided at a meeting of the centre’s ruling council. It was made up of representatives of its 20 member states.

About Fabiola Gianotti
Gianotti attracted worldwide attention in 2012 for her leading role in CERN discovery of the Higgs boson particle.

Gianotti is a researcher at CERN near Geneva since she joined with a doctorate from the University of Milan in 1987.

Gianotti in 2009 became project leader of the Atlas collaboration, one of two teams working separately to spot the Higgs in the LHC data.

With her counterpart from the CMS team, she detailed the finding of the Higgs – named after the British physicist who predicted its existence in 1964 – before a global television audience in July 2012.

About CERN
At CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, physicists and engineers are probing the fundamental structure of the universe. They use the world's largest and most complex scientific instruments to study the basic constituents of matter – the fundamental particles. The particles are made to collide together at close to the speed of light. The process gives the physicists clues about how the particles interact, and provides insights into the fundamental laws of nature.

The machine was primarily built to find the Higgs, a theoretical particle and related energy field that was thought to have made formation of the physical universe possible by converting matter into mass.

The discovery brought a Nobel Prize in 2013 for Peter Higgs, the British theorist, and François Englert, a Belgian physicist working on the same idea with two colleagues in the early 1960s and who also posited the existence of the boson.

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