Tribute

Berend Kuiper


Berend Kuiper — 1930-2016

Berend Kuiper arrived at CERN at the beginning of 1956, having graduated as an engineer from the prestigious Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands.

At the time, the team led by John Adams and tasked with the construction of the PS was still housed in the barracks next to the Physics Institute of the University of Geneva, only later moving to Meyrin.

Berend was assigned to the Magnet Group directed by Colin Ramm, and here he joined colleagues Bas de Raad, Renzo Resegotti, Simon van der Meer and a few months later Günther Plass.

The project was destined to build the first synchrotron using the alternating-gradient principle.  One of its challenges was to produce a magnetic field that was extremely uniform over the entire 628 m circumference of the PS.

It was thus the principal task of the Group to produce a series of 100 magnets with extreme precision.  Berend and his colleagues proceeded to make magnetic measurements.

Today, almost 60 years later, the same magnets are still being used to produce the protons that feed the LHC.

A few years later, with his colleague Günther Plass, Berend constructed the first Fast Extraction system for the PS beam.

That was the prelude for the construction of the fast ejection system for the Soviet synchrotron at Serpukhov near Moscow, which at the time was the most powerful machine in the world.

Berend, heading a team of some forty engineers and technicians from CERN, some accompanied by part of their families, left for nearly 6 months in Russia to install this extraction system designed and built at CERN.  Taking into account the context of the period, it was a rather exceptional enterprise since one had to ship all the components and all the tools, from the tiniest screw to the smallest screwdriver.

The complex, including a beam transport system and a radio-frequency separator, was CERN's contribution that allowed European physicists to use a machine that did not have its equivalent in the scientific world.

Back at CERN Berend was one of the handful of staff who contributed to the start of a new European scientific organization: ESO, the European Southern Observatory.

He participated in the project for the first big telescope to be installed in Chile.

At the start of the 1970s he was put in charge of renovating the PS control system which had evolved into a heterogeneous assembly of disparate elements (linear accelerators, injectors, main ring, …) but needed to become the injector for the SPS to be.

Berend was a polyvalent engineer, and though a priori he was not a specialist in these techniques, he built a coherent system with great adaptive potential.  The system was capable of integrating the needs of the SPS, followed by the production and accumulation of antiprotons, then LEP and finally the LHC.

In 1985 he launched the ICALEPCS conferences (International Conference on Accelerator and Large Experimental Physics Control Systems) to bring together all high-energy physics labs for discussions on controls.

These conferences have become the touchstone in the area of controls and Berend was the Guest of Honour at the tenth conference held in Geneva in 2005 (the 15th took place in Melbourne in 2015).

With his big lanky silhouette and unshakable optimism, Berend leaves us with the memory of a great engineer, rigorous but always inspiring his collaborators in the face of external constraints, and able to reach set goals under difficult circumstances.

It is with people like him that CERN achieved the scientific successes that put Europe at the forefront of world science.

His friends and colleagues.