by Panos Charitos. Published: 24 September 2014

On 3rd September 2014, four ALICE physicists received the prestigious Lise Meitner Prize 2014 by the European Physical Society. Johanna Stachel, Peter Braun-Munzinger, Paolo Giubellino, and Jürgen Schukraft were awarded for their outstanding contributions to the development of heavy ion physics, as they have played an important part in the design and construction of ALICE and the shaping of its physics programme.

Members of the ALICE collaboration, the CERN Management, the Director General, and Douglas MacGregor and Victor Zamfir from EPS attended the private ceremony in the Globe of Science and Innovation.

In the ceremony, Reinhard Stock, one of the pioneers of the search for Quark Gluon Plasma, explained in an eloquent speech why each of the four winners was awarded and Urs Wiedeman, CERN's heavy-ion specialist, gave an overview of the current status of searches for QGP and presented the latest results from the previous LHC runs.

From left to right: Douglas MacGregor (EPS); Prize recipients Jürgen Schukraft, Paolo Giubellino, Peter Braun-Munzinger and Johanna Stachel; and Victor Zamfir (EPS).

“The selection of these four individuals clearly reflects the importance of the results achieved by the programme we are involved in”, Giubellino commented. “It turned out that QGP is much more amazing than anyone would have dared to predict.”

Another winner, Jürgen Schukraft, stressed that the Prize rewarded the effort of the more than 1000 scientists who work on heavy-ion physics at the LHC. "The LHC heavy-ion programme does very well indeed in terms of scientific returns, and certainly much more than could have reasonably been expected in terms of surprises and discoveries," he said.

Rolf Heuer, CERN DG, also emphasized the significance of the award for heavy ion physics. “The Prize acknowledges the importance of nuclear and heavy ion physics research in Europe and places it on the same footing as HEP research,” he commented.

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