The council of European Organization for Nuclear Research, CERN, based in Geneva has selected Italian physicist Dr. Fabiola Gianotti as the next Director-General.
Gianotti, a 54-year-old Italian physicist who contributed to that discovery, will replace Director General Rolf-Dieter Heuer, 66, who is retiring in 2016, the European Organization for Nuclear Research said on its website. The group, known by the French acronym CERN, picked Gianotti from three candidates.
Gianotti previously led Atlas, one of the experiments that led to the discovery in 2012 of the Higgs boson, a particle that helps physicists explain the existence of mass. That observation, the most important find in particle physics in a half-century, landed Peter Higgs and Francois Englert a Nobel Prize in physics last year.
“Diversity is really a richness for mankind,” Gianotti said at a news conference. “We will have to remain very vigilant” that young women scientists have the same opportunities as men in fundamental research, she said.
Gianotti joined CERN in 1994, working on experiments and helping the institute build its detectors and develop software to analyze data. She presented the results in 2012 about the Higgs boson discovery and was included in a list of the top 100 most influential women by Forbes magazine the next year.