At a ceremony held in Darmstadt, Professor Paolo Giubellino was introduced as the first joint Scientific Managing Director of GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH and Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research in Europe GmbH (FAIR GmbH). The festive inauguration ceremony was held at the Darmstadtium science and congress centre in Darmstadt (DE). The guests included numerous politicians, university representatives, and partners from the organisation’s international scientific collaborations.
Greetings were delivered by Dr. Georg Schütte, State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and Chairman of the GSI Supervisory Board and FAIR Council, and Professor Otmar D. Wiestler, President of the Helmholtz Association. Words of greetings also came from Dr. Rolf Bernhardt of the Hessen State Ministry for Higher Education, Research and the Arts , Jochen Partsch, Mayor of the City of Darmstadt, and Professor Angela Bracco, Chair of the Nuclear Physics European Collaboration Committee (NuPECC) — an expert committee of the European Science Foundation (ESF).
In his role as Scientific Managing Director, the 56-year-old Italian physicist Paolo Giubellino succeeds Professor Boris Sharkov at FAIR and Professor Karlheinz Langanke at GSI. By taking up his new position, he completes the joint management team of GSI and FAIR. This doubling up of managerial responsibility is also the case with the Administrative Managing Director Ursula Weyrich, who was appointed in late 2014, and the Technical Managing Director Jörg Blaurock, who was appointed in early 2016. The GSI Supervisory Board and the FAIR Council had announced their decision to appoint Paolo Giubellino in September 2016, and he took up his duties in January 2017.
Dr. Georg Schütte said, “Paolo Giubellino’s appointment as Scientific Managing Director completes the joint management team of GSI and FAIR. It guarantees excellent future research at FAIR. The foundation for this is laid by GSI’s current scientific work. I wish the three directors Paolo Giubellino, Ursula Weyrich and Jörg Blaurock much success with their challenging task to develop FAIR in the framework agreed upon with the international partners.“
In his comments, Professor Otmar D. Wiestler emphasised the international significance of this appointment. “Because of his scientific achievements and his extraordinary talent at leading an international team, the presence of Paolo Giubellino is a great enrichment for our association and for Darmstadt as a centre of scientific research. His appointment also testifies to the attractiveness of Helmholtz research to scientists all over the world. With the new management team, including Ursula Weyrich and Jörg Blaurock, GSI and FAIR are well positioned for their great future tasks.“
Paolo Giubellino is beginning his term of office at an extremely exciting time for GSI and FAIR. The construction of the FAIR facility is due to begin this year. This will be one of the biggest and most ambitious projects for worldwide research, and it will be done through the cooperation of international partners. In addition, the further development of the research campus is forging ahead. The existing facility is being enhanced and equipped with cutting-edge technology to enable scientists from all over the world to participate in an outstanding research program.
The NuPECC-Chair Professor Angela Bracco said, “FAIR is the European flagship facility for hadron and nuclear physics in the coming decades. The unique FAIR facility will allow unprecedented fore-front research in a broad spectrum of basic and applied research disciplines.”
In his ceremonial address, Paolo Giubellino offered a glimpse of the future and expressed his enthusiasm about his new workplace. “Its research potential is unique,” he said. “An unprecedented variety of experiments will be possible at FAIR. Through them, physicists from all over the world can expect to gain new insights into the structure of matter and the evolution of the universe, from the Big Bang until today. The FAIR project guarantees further development, not only for the centre in Darmstadt but also for fundamental research in all of Europe and beyond.” The new Scientific Managing Director’s vision of the future also includes up-and-coming young scientists. “Today we already need lots of bright young people — highly qualified young scientists who will contribute their talent and their know-how to the creation of FAIR,” he said. Giubellino concluded with a promise: “I will do everything I can to help ensure that we can work together to fully exploit the tremendous research potential of GSI and FAIR.”
Since January 2017, Paolo Giubellino is Scientific Managing Director of GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH (GSI Helmholtz Centre for Heavy Ion Research) and the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research in Europe GmbH (FAIR GmbH). The research focus of Paolo Giubellino is the physics of high-energy heavy ion collisions and the matter produced in them. After studying at Turin University (IT) and the University of California in Santa Cruz (USA), he took part in many heavy-ion experiments at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN. Since the early 1990s, he has held several senior positions at CERN’s ALICE experiment. In 2011, Giubellino was appointed Spokesperson of ALICE. He has also worked at the Turin section of the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, INFN) since 1985. For his work he has received numerous awards. Among other things, he received the Lise Meitner Prize of the European Physical Society in 2014 as well as the Enrico Fermi Prize, the highest award bestowed by the Italian Physical Society (2013). In 2012 the Italian president awarded him the title of “Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana” for his scientific achievements. In 2016 he was elected into the Academia Europae.
FAIR will be one of the largest and most complex accelerator facilities in the world. The centrepiece of the facility is a ring accelerator with a circumference of 1,100 metres. Engineers and scientists are working in international partnership to advance new technological developments in a number of areas – such as information technology and superconductor technology. Around 3,000 scientists from all over the world will be able to conduct top-level research at FAIR. Their outstanding experiments will generate new fundamental insights into the structure of matter and the evolution of the universe. Alongside Germany, FAIR’s shareholders are the countries of Finland, France, India, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia and Sweden. The United Kingdom is an associated partner.