Fabiola Gianotti

«I had the privilege of being the leader of the ATLAS experiment at a historic moment and I am grateful to my colleagues which have elected me for this role. I see more and more researchers that overlook the fundamental research. Hopefully I can show the girls which wish to undertake scientific career that, with enthusiasm and determination, they can do it».
When in 1964 the theoretical physicist Peter Higgs predicted the existence of a particle that gives mass to all the elementary particles, she was just two years old and did not know that, one day, she would have announced at that physical now old, in front of the world scientific community in fibrillation, he was right: the Higgs boson does exist (or at least, it looks like the elusive particle that for half a century were hunted). The scientist Fabiola Gianotti, presented the results of the historic discovery at CERN, and was “very excited” for the achievement. «It’s a dream longed for many years», she said in her best day. Coming from Milan, she lived and studied in Milan where, after high school and a diploma in piano at the Conservatory, she graduated in physics and obtained a PhD in physics sub-nuclear. After a year of activities as part of the prestigious National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN), participates in a competition for a scholarship for young physicists banned by CERN, the European laboratory for particle physics located on the border between France and Switzerland. She gets it and left for Geneva with the idea to just stay there for the duration of the scholarship. She will not leave the lab because she will then be taken as a researcher at the Department of Physics. She works in various experiments at CERN (WA70, UA2, ALEPH, ATLAS). In the experiment ALEPH LEP electron-positron accelerator leads the group of scientists who are concerned with the search for supersymmetric particles, including the particle might lurk that could explain dark matter that permeates the universe. From March 2009 to February 2013 he led the ATLAS experiment a mega detector collisions of particles produced in the accelerator underground Large Hadron Collider (LHC), the size of a five-storey building. One of the scientific projects more complex and ambitious of all time, experiment by 450 million of euro, involving 3.000 scientists, mostly physicists from 38 countries around the world. The ATLAS experiment together with the rival CMS captained by American Joe Incandela, has allowed us to discover the Higgs particle. «It’s a great emotion, a result which crowns 20 years of work of a huge international collaboration. For us it is an achievement, but also a starting point. It is a milestone because the Higgs boson was one of the motivations to build the LHC. It is a starting point, because now we will have to study the features to see if it is actually the standard particle or some of his other incarnation». After the presentation at CERN, Peter Higgs was exiceted, for having witnessed this result in the course of his life. Fabiola Gianotti is one of the 100 Most Powerful Women of 2013. According to the annual ranking of the American magazine Forbes, the Italian physics is the seventy-eighth place among the most influential women in the world. This is not the first major award that is bestowed to her outside of the scientific world. She was included in the list of finalists for the cover of Time magazine dedicated to the person of the year of 2012. All thanks to the “particle from the mass”, which in 2012 has attracted the spotlight of the media from around the world. Its discovery was considered the most important scientific achievement of 2012 in the ranking by the magazine Science. She has taken part in numerous international scientific committees, in Europe and in the United States, including the Scientific Council of the CNRS in France and the Council of the European Physical Society. In March 2011 she was included by the British newspaper “The Guardian” among the “100 most inspirational women” in all fields (including seven in the scientific and medical sphere). In 2012 she was awarded the title of “Grande Ufficiale della Repubblica” by President Giorgio Napolitano. Fabiola Gianotti is a woman who holds one of the highest places in the scientific field. Just a few like her.

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