Council appoints CERN’s next Director General

Dr Robert Aymar (left), current CERN Director General, Professor Torsten Åkesson, President of CERN Council, and Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer, CERN’s next Director General (Image: CERN)

Geneva, 14 December 2007. CERN1 Council today appointed Professor Rolf-Dieter Heuer to succeed Dr Robert Aymar as CERN’s Director General. Professor Heuer will serve a five-year term, taking office on 1 January 2009. His mandate will cover the early years of operation and first scientific results from the Laboratory’s new flagship research facility, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). The LHC is scheduled to begin operation in summer 2008.

Currently Research Director for particle and astroparticle physics at Germany’s DESY laboratory in Hamburg, a post that he took up in 2004, Professor 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) research facility. From 1994 to 1998, he was the collaboration’s spokesman.

“This is a very exciting time for particle physics,” said Professor Heuer. “To become CERN’s Director General for the early years of LHC operation is a great honour, a great challenge, and probably the best job in physics research today. I’m looking forward to working with CERN’s community of personnel and researchers from around the world as we embark on this great adventure.”

Professor Heuer obtained his doctorate in 1977 from the University of Heidelberg. 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 collider. On taking up his appointment 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.

“Rolf Heuer has worked tirelessly for DESY as Germany’s main particle physics laboratory, while at the same time strengthening links between DESY, the German University system and CERN,” said Professor Torsten Åkesson, President of CERN Council. “This spirit of collaboration will be a valuable asset to CERN as we move into LHC operation, develop strategic options for the long-term scientific programme, and develop collaboration with the European national laboratories and institutes.”

PDF icon Rolf Heuer's CV.pdf59.03 KB


CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is the world's leading laboratory for particle physics. It has its headquarters in Geneva. At present, its Member States are Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Romania is a candidate for accession. Israel is an Associate Member in the pre-stage to Membership. India, Japan, the Russian Federation, the United States of America, Turkey, the European Commission and UNESCO have Observer status.

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