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Department of Physics

The Cavendish Laboratory

The UK government has announced its support for Cavendish particle physicist Professor Mark Thomson, to be the next Director-General of CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics. 

Professor Thomson is a renowned Professor of Experimental Particle Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory and a Fellow at Emmanuel College. Since 2018, he is the Executive Chair of STFC, the UK Research Council that provides funding for particle physics, astrophysics, space science and nuclear physics.

“I am honoured to be considered as a candidate for the Director-General of CERN,” said Professor Thomson. “If elected, I would bring to this role over 25 years of scientific leadership, an extensive knowledge of CERN, and deep experience of operating successfully at the highest level in major research infrastructures at national and international levels.”

“CERN is a unique and exceptional organisation that has secured Europe’s position as the global leader in particle physics. I believe passionately that it is of strategic importance to Europe for CERN to remain at the global forefront of particle physics, continuing to push forward the boundaries of technology and inspiring the next generation to pursue careers in science and engineering.”

"Mark Thomson’s candidacy for CERN’s lead role is incredibly exciting,” said Head of the Cavendish Laboratory Professor Mete Atature. “We are truly confident in the transformative impact his leadership will have on this crucial area of research, tackling some of the most foundational scientific questions of modern times.” 

Until 2018, Mark was co-spokesperson for the Deep Underground Neutrino Experiment (DUNE), a colossal experiment based in the US looking into the role of neutrinos in the makeup of the universe. At CERN, Mark played a leading role on the OPAL experiment at the Large Electron-Positron (LEP) collider. He has authored or co-authored over 1,100 pieces of peer-reviewed research, and his textbook ‘Modern Particle Physics’ is a staple on undergraduate courses worldwide. 

A vote amongst the CERN member states to choose the organisation’s next Director General, will take place later this year. 

More details on Professor Thomson’s candidacy can be found here.

Image: Professor Mark Thomson Credit: Department for Science, Innovation and Technology and Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office