Committees bring top Italian researcher to Darmstadt

Paolo Giubellino Appointed New Scientific Managing Director of FAIR and GSI

Professor Paolo Giubellino (Photo: Gaby Otto, GSI)

The internationally renowned Italian physicist Professor Paolo Giubellino will be the first joint scientific managing director and spokesperson of the directorate of the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research in Europe GmbH (FAIR GmbH) and GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH in Darmstadt. This was decided by the FAIR Council and the GSI Supervisory Board. The contracts have already been signed, and Giubellino will take up his new position in Darmstadt on January 1, 2017.


Paolo Giubellino succeeds Professor Boris Sharkov, the scientific managing director of FAIR, and Professor Karlheinz Langanke, the interim scientific managing director of GSI. Giubellino’s appointment completes the joint management team of GSI and FAIR. The new scientific managing director will perform his management tasks for GSI as well as FAIR. This is also the case with the administrative managing director Ursula Weyrich (end of 2014) and the technical managing director Jörg Blaurock (beginning of 2016). Both expressed their delight at the appointment of Paolo Guibellino and their future teamwork. To conduct cutting-edge research and to realize the future accelerator facility FAIR in international cooperation will be the aim.


State Secretary Dr. Georg Schütte of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Chairman of the GSI Supervisory Board and the FAIR Council, said: "With Paolo Giubellino we've won an outstanding scientist, who has plenty of experience with international scientific collaborations. His in-depth knowledge of heavy-ion research and his clear vision of forward-looking basic research will play an important role in the further realization of FAIR.“


In addition Professor Otmar D. Wiestler, president of the Helmholtz Association, emphasized the international significance of this appointment: "With the extensive international experience Paolo Giubellino gained at CERN in Switzerland, he has ideal prerequisites to tackle the assignment in Darmstadt. Being able to attract people like Paolo Giubellino to FAIR shows the world-wide appeal of the Helmholtz research. We have chosen the right path with our strategy to pursue a more international course. We will continue it consistently in the future."


Research focus of the 56 year-old Paolo Giubellino is the physics of high-energy heavy ion collisions and the matter produced in them. After studying at Turin University and the University of California in Santa Cruz, he took part in many heavy-ion experiments at the European Organization for Nuclear Research CERN in Switzerland. Since the early 1990s, he has held several senior positions at CERN’s ALICE experiment — one of the four major permanent experiments at the LHC particle accelerator. In 2011 Giubellino was appointed Spokesperson of ALICE at CERN. More than 1,600 scientists from 42 countries are currently members of the ALICE Collaboration. Giubellino has also worked at the Torino section of the Italian National Institute for Nuclear Physics (Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, INFN) since 1985 and has served as research director since 2006.


GSI is well-known terrain for Paolo Giubellino. This is due partly to GSI’s links to the ALICE experiment, since scientists from GSI play a leading role in the collaboration’s scientific program as well as in the development and construction of measuring instruments for ALICE. Moreover, Giubellino is currently the Chairman of GSI’s General Program Advisory Committee, whose members come from all over the world. This committee advises the GSI management board how the accelerator facility should be used and which experiments proposed by scientists should be conducted.


Paolo Giubellino is married and has a son. In addition to his scientific expertise, he has extensive experience with international collaborations and has often played a key role in the development of bilateral agreements and research programs, such as those from the European Union. He is now eagerly looking forward to his future tasks at GSI and FAIR. “It is a great pleasure and a great responsibility for me,” he says. “FAIR is a new and unique accelerator facility that is being built at GSI. Over 3,000 scientists from all over the world will work at FAIR in the future. It is a fantastic opportunity for a scientist.” The future scientific managing director is thrilled by the research opportunities at FAIR: “We will conduct outstanding experiments here to gain pioneering new insights into the structure of matter and the universe,” he says. “The questions that we hope FAIR will answer are fascinating. For example, how do stars create the chemical elements that are essential for our lives?” FAIR will also be a magnet for young people from all over the world. That will make it possible to train highly qualified young scientists and engineers in Darmstadt within an international environment, he adds.


Giubellino has received numerous awards for his work, which includes more than 300 scientific publications. Among others, he was awarded the 2014 Lise Meitner Prize of the European Physical Society as well as the Enrico Fermi Prize, the highest award bestowed by the Italian Physical Society (2013). In 2012 the Italian President Napolitano awarded him the title of Commendatore della Repubblica Italiana for his scientific achievements.

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