Günther Plass — 1930-2020
Günther Plass, former CERN director of accelerators who made decisive contributions to the development and successful operation of many of CERN’s large facilities, passed away on 11 December, aged 90.
Günther joined CERN in 1956, participating in the construction of the Proton Synchrotron (PS) as a member of the magnet group. With Berend Kuiper, he led the development of the machine’s novel fast-ejection system, shaped the massive PS improvement programme launched in 1965 and, later, oversaw the construction of the new Linac2.
Günther also left his mark as the author, together with Colin Ramm as early as 1961, of a suggestion to construct the SPS near the Meyrin site.
Günther was among those proposing the Low-Energy Antiproton Ring (LEAR), which, after modifications, is now a key component of the LHC ion programme as the Low- Energy Ion Ring (LEIR).
He displayed the full measure of his talent as deputy to Emilio Picasso, the LEP project leader, from 1981 onwards and from 1983 as LEP division leader.
As director of accelerators from 1990, he lent full support to the upgrade of LEP by means of superconducting cavities, which extended its energy reach from the Z° to the W+W– threshold and above, and he strongly encouraged the studies that would ensure the future of CERN, such as those for the LHC and CLIC.
Günther’s success was due to his unassuming character, his patience and ability to listen, his open and calm mind in the face of adversity, and his ability to identify the essential points and the right people for a task or project.
Kurt Hübner and Carlo Wyss